Ludwick available in a pinch

Ludwick available in a pinch

ST. LOUIS -- Although Ryan Ludwick will likely not see the field for the next few games, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa did pencil in the right fielder as an available bench player for Monday's series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

La Russa said the tightness in Ludwick's left calf had improved. As for the veteran's chance of pinch-hitting Monday?

"He is better. He is available, but we will try to avoid it," La Russa said.

The Cardinals skipper said he expects Ludwick to play in the field before the seven-game homestand was finished.

La Russa also said third basemen David Freese was not be available Monday, sidelined with a sore ankle.