Cardinals activate David Freese and Nick Punto from DL

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St. Louis’ packed disabled list got a little lighter today, as the Cardinals activated third baseman David Freese and utility infielder Nick Punto.

Freese has been out for two months with a broken left hand, but hit .356 with an .865 OPS in 25 games before the injury and will slide right back into the lineup as the everyday third baseman after Daniel Descalso hit just .244 with a .666 OPS filling in.

Punto returns after missing six weeks with a forearm injury and previously sat out the first three weeks of the season following hernia surgery. He’ll play considerably less than Freese, but Tony La Russa will no doubt find plenty of opportunities to get his glove into the lineup.

Five minor leaguers suspended for drug violations

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NEW YORK (AP) Five minor league pitchers have been suspended for drug violations.

The commissioner’s office announced the penalties Tuesday.

Three of the players are part of the Toronto system. Right-hander Juan Jimenez and left-hander Naswell Paulino were each suspended for 72 games, and righty Jol Concepcion was banned for 60 games. Jimenez, Paulino and Concepcion tested for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance.

Jimenez and Paulino are on the roster for the rookie-level Dominican Summer League Blue Jays, and Concepcion is on the roster of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Blue Jays.

Kansas City minor leaguer Travis Eckert and free-agent lefty Kevin Duchene each tested positive for a drug of abuse. Eckert was suspended for 50 games following a second positive test, and Duchene received a 100-game penalty following a third positive test.

Eckert is on the roster for Single-A Lexington of the South Atlantic League.

There have been 79 suspensions under the minor league drug program this year and five under the major league program.