Cardinals place 3B David Freese on disabled list

The St. Louis Cardinals put third baseman David Freese on the

15-day disabled list Tuesday because of a lower back strain, and

hoped he would heal in time for the home opener April 8 against

Cincinnati.

Freese joined St. Louis closer Jason Motte on the DL. The

Cardinals earlier this spring lost shortstop Rafael Furcal for the

year with an elbow injury and pitcher Chris Carpenter with a

potential career-ending nerve injury.

Utilityman Matt Carpenter is expected to start the season at

third in place of Freese, the 2011 World Series and NL championship

series MVP. Freese, who will be 30 next month, hit .293 with career

best of 20 homers, 79 RBIs and 144 games last season.

Carpenter played at five positions last year and added second

base this spring. He batted .294 with six homers and 46 RBIs in 296

at-bats last year. Carpenter, 27, has 26 career starts in two

seasons at third.

Infielder Ryan Jackson was recalled from Triple-A Memphis.

Left-hander Sam Freeman was optioned to Triple-A.

In 12 spring training games, Freese was batting .267 with two

home runs and five RBIs. The move was retroactive to Saturday

Jackson was optioned to the minors on March 17 after appearing

in 17 spring training games. Freeman made two exhibition

appearances.