General manager John Mozeliak has repeatedly said that the Cardinals are comfortable going with 26-year-old prospect David Freese as their Opening Day third baseman, so he can’t be too happy with this news from the weekend:
David Freese was arrested in St. Louis County early Saturday morning on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, Maryland Heights police confirmed Sunday. … Freese’s arrest represents the fourth known alcohol-related incident involving the franchise since March 2007. It is also the second vehicle-related incident involving Freese this year.
The Lafayette High alum suffered serious injuries to both feet last January when his car skidded off an ice-slicked road as he was en route to a charity bowling event. The incident cost Freese a chance to make the major-league club in spring training and eventually required surgery on his left foot.
Mozeliak commented that the Cardinals “are extremely disappointed upon hearing this,” but it’s tough to imagine the arrest really hurting Freese’s chance of claiming a starting job given that manager Tony La Russa was arrested for driving under the influence a couple years ago. Of course, La Russa is a Hall of Fame manager and Freese will be 27 years old in April despite not yet even establishing himself as a big leaguer. In other words Freese may want to stay off the road for a while.
Cubs starter Yu Darvish suffered a setback during Sunday’s rehab start with Low-A South Bend, The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg reports. Darvish threw just 19 pitches in the first inning and felt fine. However, when he took the mound to warm up ahead of the second inning, Darvish “felt something” in his injured right elbow. He exited the game to undergo an MRI.
Darvish’s condition isn’t yet known, but it’s obviously bad news. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract in February and has made just eight starts this season. He owns a 4.95 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks in 40 innings and hasn’t pitched since May 20.
Darvish said he hopes to return before the end of the regular season to help the team. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is realistic about the situation. He said, “It’s a process. We’ll see how he feels. It’s been a long road back, so there’s no point in rushing it now. We probably have one chance given where we are on the calendar to get this right, so that’s the priority.”
Mike Montgomery has pitched out of the rotation in Darvish’s place but he is also currently on the disabled list. Tyler Chatwood, with a 5.22 ERA and 93 walks in 101 2/3 innings, was booted from the rotation at the end of July after the Cubs acquired Cole Hamels. The Cubs, entering Sunday 20 games over .500 and fewer than five games ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central, need some reliability at the back of the rotation.