Good news here for the Cardinals, who are clinging to the National League’s second Wild Card spot.
Brian Stull of 101 ESPN reports that third baseman David Freese is back in the starting lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals.
Freese drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in Saturday night’s extra-innings loss but hasn’t started a game since rolling his ankle in the indoor batting cage at Houston’s Minute Maid Park last Monday evening.
The 2011 World Series MVP is hitting .296/.374/.471 with 20 homers and 79 RBI in 554 plate appearances this season. St. Louis currently holds a two-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL Wild Card standings.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.