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David Freese Returns To Lineup, Hopefully

This David Freese headline is true in both the definition-stickler meaning of "in a hopeful fashion" and the actual-usage meaning of "I hope that"—with hope brightening his every healthy-ankled step David Freese returns to the St. Louis Cardinals' lineup in Monday's Spring Training action, or so I can only hope. Freese's return from the ankle problems that have hamstrung (ankled?) his last two seasons has been delayed a few times already, and while both ankles have been surgically repaired and are apparently better than ever it is with somewhat left definition-stickler-hopefulness than last year that I anticipate David Freese's return. 

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The good news is that in the absence of Freese the Cardinals suddenly find themselves with a few interesting options. Zack Cox, their 2010 first-rounder, isn't ready for his Major League debut, but he's likely to find himself in the high minors this season. A rung or two up, Matt Carpenter will have a full season to prove that the well-rounded skills that made him an internet favorite in 2010 weren't a single-season, old-for-his-league mirage. And in St. Louis, I-can-only-hope, Allen Craig will be trying once more to add third baseman to his fantasy baseball eligibility categories.

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So if I am less hopeful about David Freese in particular than I used to be, I can think relatively hopefully about the Cardinals' situation should his third consecutive season be abbreviated. None of the Cardinals' options is a sure thing, but they're all at least interesting. 

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