LOS ANGELES -- A day after exiting the Cardinals' Game 3 loss with tightness in his right calf, third baseman David Freese passed all the mobility tests necessary to get clearance to return to the lineup. He played just 5 1/2 innings of Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 4, but he said afterward that his leg gave him no repeat issues in the game.
"I feel good," Freese said after going 0-for-3 with a strikeout. "Obviously, I didn't feel 100 percent today. But I felt like I competed in the box as I normally do. I felt all right. I'll feel better tomorrow."
Before his name was written into the lineup, Freese tested his leg while running in the outfield more than four hours before first pitch. The medical staff also helped Freese get hydrated to help combat what manager Mike Matheny said was a cramping issue. Freese later took infield practice with his teammates during batting practice.
Freese admitted pregame to still being "a little sore," but he remained determined to play. He said that taking BP helped loosen his calf up, and that it continued to improve during the game.
Freese came out of Tuesday's game before the bottom of the sixth, but only for defensive purposes. Matheny took the opportunity to insert Pete Kozma at short -- which subsequently shifted Daniel Descalso to third -- as the Cards were trying to hang onto what was, at the time, a one-run lead.
The 24-hour improvement for Freese was a relief for Matheny, who feared that he could be without his third baseman for more than a day when he pulled Freese out of Monday's game after watching him run gingerly to second.
"I was concerned or I certainly wouldn't have thrown him out of the game," Matheny said. "When I watched him go first to second, I was afraid that he pulled something and that it might be a little while."
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.