David Freese begins minor league rehab assignment

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According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, David Freese began a minor league rehab assignment last night with Triple-A Memphis and went 1-for-4 with a two-run double. He also played seven innings at third base.

Freese opened the season on the disabled list with a lower back injury suffered during spring training. He was originally scheduled to begin his rehab stint on Thursday, but the game was postponed due to rain. While the Cardinals were hoping to activate him for their home opener on Monday, it’s not clear if he’ll be ready by then. Either way, he’s getting close.

Matt Carpenter will continue to fill at third base for now, but he’s expected to take over for Daniel Descalso at second base once Freese is in the lineup.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.