HOUSTON -- A mild ankle sprain, the result of a freak incident in the indoor batting cage, forced David Freese out of the Cardinals' 6-1 win on Monday and will likely keep him off the field for longer. The unknown is just how long that might be.
Freese was preparing for another start at third base by running around the batting cage at Minute Maid Park in the minutes just before first pitch. That's part of his regular warmup routine. As he ran, however, Freese's right foot caught in what he and manager Mike Matheny both described as "soft spots" in the floor of the cage. Freese's ankle rolled. He fell to a knee.
With Freese's mobility too compromised, Matheny subbed Matt Carpenter in as his third baseman after the top of the first. Word of the injury came too late for Matheny to take Freese out of the starting lineup before he had to hand it in.
Freese described the pain as "bad enough to get it checked out," which he did during Monday's game. X-rays came back negative, and the Cardinals are encouraged that it is not a high ankle sprain.
"A couple days, a few days, I don't know," Freese said when asked to project a timetable. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow. But I rolled it pretty good."
The third baseman has a history of ankle problems, having undergone surgery on both ankles earlier in his career. Freese has, however, managed to stay mostly healthy this year. He missed one game due to a left ankle sprain earlier this month.
"His ankle and his feet he's had so much trouble with," Matheny said. "I know everybody is concerned. But they went and had the doctors look at it, did all the tests they needed to find everything was negative, except the sprain. But sprains can be a lingering thing, too. Hopefully we get ahead of it."