JUPITER, Fla. -- Sam Freeman, slowed by a left shoulder impingement for much of camp, returned to the mound in the Cardinals' 10-7 loss to the Mets on Sunday.
Freeman faced just three hitters -- and retired only one -- but the fact that he was back on the mound represented tangible progress. The left-hander's only other Grapefruit League appearance came on Feb. 24.
"I felt good. I just didn't get the job done today," said Freeman, who allowed a walk and a single. "I'm not going to use the time off as an excuse for expecting any different result."
Freeman isn't expected to break the Cardinals' Opening Day roster, but he is optimistic that slight changes to his mechanics -- changes designed to decrease the stress on his shoulder -- will help him overcome an arm issue that has plagued him for a year. The tendinitis that Freeman battled last season is believed to have been related to the impingement that halted his throwing program this spring.
"I see a big upside and a kid that you can't help but like," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's very polite, works hard and has stuff that you can't help but like. He's got some more work to do on the consistency."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.