Cardinals’ David Freese misses 4th straight start

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese missed his fourth straight start with a sprained right ankle, but felt good enough to take pregame batting practice.

Freese, who has had ankle woes in the past, was encouraged by how well he felt before Friday night’s game against the Washington Nationals.

“The way it is, it kind of shows my ankle is pretty good, to be honest,” Freese said. “The way I rolled it, I got it pretty good and for everything to be all right that’s a plus for sure.”

Matt Carpenter started in place of Freese against Washington in a game with postseason implications for both teams. The Cardinals began a six-game homestand to end the season with a magic number of four for securing the second NL wild card, and the Nationals’ magic number for clinching the NL East was three.

Before hitting, Freese said the ankle had improved enough for his first baseball activities since rolling the ankle at Houston. Previously, he hit in the indoor cage, took grounders and jogged in the outfield but noted he rounded the turns.

Manager Mike Matheny said he didn’t know when Freese, batting .296 with 20 home runs and 79 RBI, would be back.

“He’s still not there, so I just don’t want to give a timeline,” Matheny said. “We’ll just see how he does each day.”

The Cardinals are closing in the second NL wild card, increasing the urgency for Freese.

“I’m trying to push it,” he said. “I mean, we don’t have much time left. It’s frustrating, but I’ll be out there soon enough.”

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