David Freese sitting Wednesday for a third straight game

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David Freese suffered a gash on his right thumb Sunday when he lunged to tag Norichika Aoki on the left leg during a rundown along the third base line. It was only a minor cut, but he got stitches after the game and has not made an appearance since.

Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Freese is out of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Wednesday night against the Padres for a third straight day.

Matt Carpenter will slide over to the hot corner and Daniel Descalso will get the start at second base.

Freese has been able to take pregame batting practice over these past three nights and is not in any sort of pain, but there is swelling along the area that needed stitches and it is preventing him from getting a good grip on the baseball. He is presumably available to pinch hit on Wednesday night and will aim to play in Friday night’s series opener at Dodger Stadium. The Cardinals are off on Thursday.

Freese opened the season on the disabled list with a back injury and struggled offensively when he returned. He had been showing signs of life here in May, but this extended absence could throw him off again.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.