ST. LOUIS -- One potential solution for the Cardinals' question mark at third base got further Tuesday. The club announced that David Freese, the third baseman for Triple-A Memphis, has undergone arthroscopic surgery in his left ankle. He's expected to miss approximately two months.
According to a release, it's undetermined how long it will take Freese to recuperate from the operation. However, general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday that Freese's recovery will be more of a long-term matter than a short one. The procedure was described as debridement and a cleanup of scar tissue.
"It was minor surgery," Mozeliak said, "but invasive enough where he's going to need time to [get back]."
Freese first sustained the injury in a car wreck during the winter. He attempted to play through it, but he has dealt with complications throughout Spring Training and the early part of the season. About three weeks ago, Mozeliak said, Freese made a move in a game that aggravated the condition and eventually contributed to his need for surgery.
Freese began the season on the Cardinals' roster and appeared to be the primary third baseman, but his playing time rapidly dwindled. Joe Thurston and Brian Barden seized at-bats due to hot starts by both. However, both have since tailed off, leaving the Cardinals in need of a boost at the position. Freese could conceivably have provided that boost, but he is not healthy.
In 20 games since he returned to Memphis, Freese batted .244 with a .298 on-base percentage and a .372 slugging percentage. He put up a .158/.227/.263 line in 19 at-bats in St. Louis.
Joe Mather, who competed for third-base opportunities in Spring Training, has had a similarly frustrating season. He is batting .129 with a .194 on-base percentage and a .200 slugging percentage at Memphis, and he has been sidelined since May 7 after undergoing left wrist surgery.
In the vacuum at Memphis, though, one player has begun to step forward. Brett Wallace, the Cards' 2008 first-round Draft pick, was promoted to Memphis when Freese was sidelined and has hit well. Wallace, 22, is 8-for-17 in his first four Triple-A games.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.