The best news so far to come out of the St. Louis Post-Disptach's yearly Spring Training descent upon Jupiter, Florida, is that St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese is able to say "I went out dancing last night", even as a joke, without bursting into tears on Rick Hummel's shoulder. Felipe Lopez's exit means someone else will have to suck up those at-bats (and suck) if he hits the disabled list again, but Freese says he's both sober and ready to participate in drills—and aiming to play on Opening Day.â†µ
Freese's absence was one of the biggest and quietest problems behind last year's disappointing finish. He was having a sneakily excellent season, playing above-average defense at third and turning in a nice year at the plate despite suffering from a complete and sudden loss of home run power.
I don't think Freese, who hit 26 home runs in his last full season in the minor leagues, will ever have a year shaped quite like that one again. But if he can stay healthy he could be an outstandingly average supporting piece in 2011. And if the Cardinals are still looking to build the team around Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, that's exactly the kind of outstanding they're looking for out of the role players.â†µ