JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals put third baseman David Freese on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday because of a lower back strain, and hoped he would heal in time for the home opener April 8 against Cincinnati. Freese joined St. Louis closer Jason Motte on the DL. The Cardinals earlier this spring lost shortstop Rafael Furcal for the year with an elbow injury and pitcher Chris Carpenter with a potential career-ending nerve injury.
Utilityman Matt Carpenter is expected to start the season at third in place of Freese, the 2011 World Series and NL championship series MVP. Freese, who will be 30 next month, hit .293 with career best of 20 homers, 79 RBIs and 144 games last season. Carpenter played at five positions last year and added second base this spring. He batted .294 with six homers and 46 RBIs in 296 at-bats last year. Carpenter, 27, has 26 career starts in two seasons at third.
Infielder Ryan Jackson was recalled from Triple-A Memphis. Left-hander Sam Freeman was optioned to Triple-A. In 12 spring training games, Freese was batting .267 with two home runs and five RBIs. The move was retroactive to Saturday Jackson was optioned to the minors on March 17 after appearing in 17 spring training games. Freeman made two exhibition appearances.