May 1, 2011, 7:07 PM EST
David Freese, who was batting a robust .356 in 87 at-bats this season, suffered a broken left hand when he was hit by a Scott Linebrink pitch in Sunday’s loss to the Braves and is expected to be placed on the disabled list.
The Cardinals didn’t provide a timetable for Freese’s return, but an absence of at least 4-6 weeks should be anticipated.
The injury leaves St. Louis down two infield starters with second baseman Skip Schumaker nursing a biceps strain. Tyler Greene figures to be a full-timer at second base now. Nick Punto, who also left today’s game with an injury (tightness in his left hamstring) and Daniel Descalso will share time at third base.
It’s been a very tough year for NL third basemen. The Cardinals are the third team in two days to lose their starting third baseman for all of May, as the Nationals and Giants announced injuries for Ryan Zimmerman (torn abdominal muscle) and Pablo Sandoval (broken hamate bone) on Saturday. Zimmerman, who was already on the DL, is expected to miss an additional six weeks. The Dodgers (Casey Blake) and Reds (Scott Rolen) also have third basemen on the DL.
With very little available on the trade market, the Cardinals will probably have to get by with their current group. They could give Allen Craig some time at the hot corner once he’s back from a strained groin in a couple of weeks.
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