David Freese may not be ready to return Monday

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When the Cardinals placed David Freese on the disabled list to begin the season the idea was that he’d be ready to return from his back injury for the home opener on April 8, but that now looks iffy.

Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the Cardinals would like Freese to play in multiple extended spring training games to evaluate his readiness for Monday, but there aren’t a ton of games scheduled. So it may take more time.

Matt Carpenter, who was slated to start at second base, has been subbing for Freese at third base, with Daniel Descalso moving into the lineup at second base.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).