Freese locked in at plate early on

Freese locked in at plate early on

Freese locked in at plate early on
CINCINNATI -- Spring Training statistics might seem insignificant for most players, but not for a competitor like David Freese. "I'm always trying to play the best I can," Freese said.

But during this past Spring Training, frustration mounted for the 2011 World Series Most Valuable Player, who hit just .188 with 16 strikeouts in 48 at-bats in Grapefruit League play.

"Spring Training is all about preparation for the start of the season," Freese said. "I just wasn't clicking out of the gate. I didn't like my approach. I always want to play well, and I always want to hit well. That's just how I am."

Obviously, Freese was just waiting for the games that count. The Cardinals third baseman is red-hot to begin the regular season. He went 2-for-5 with a two-run home run in Monday's 7-1 win at Cincinnati. Freese is now hitting .417 with two home runs and eight RBIs through five games.

"He was frustrated in the spring trying to figure things out," said manager Mike Matheny. "He's gotten himself into some big situations so far. He thrives on that. He has that knack. He's got some confidence going now."

Freese is the first Cardinals player since Mark McGwire (1998) to have multi-RBI games in the season's first two games, and the first since Edgar Renteria (2003) to have multiple hits in each of the first three games.

"I'm focused, and just trying to do my part," Freese said. "When those lights come on, you have to execute, you have to produce. We compete here to win a championship. It's no different this year."