(BaseballStL) -- David Freese was back in the lineup for the series finale against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday afternoon. It was his second game played since returning from the 15-day disabled list on Monday.
Freese, who had been dealing with a lower back strain, last played in the 13-4 home opener loss after a three-game rehab stint with Memphis.
For manager Mike Matheny, it is about keeping the bench players fresh while maintaining the starters’ health.
“I don’t think any of them want the day off,” Matheny said prior to Wednesday’s finale. “After today we got a pretty long stretch.
“There’s going to be some days where maybe they’re going to be barking a little bit, but hopefully we can even beat it to the punch where they’re getting a day to help them through the long stretches.”
The Cardinals will be idle on Thursday before embarking on a stretch of 13 games without an off-day, including 10 on the road, against the likes of the Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals.
Matt Adams, who hit a go-ahead pinch-hit home run in a 5-1 win the night before, was given the start at first base for the series finale against the Reds. Matheny said the team has put an emphasis on keeping Adams fresh throughout the season.
Allen Craig, a career .188 hitter in 18 games against Cincinnati, did not start after snapping a six-game hit streak on Tuesday.
With Thursday being an off-day, the Cardinals kept Yadier Molina in the starting lineup for Wednesday. It has been a common practice to rest a catcher on a day game after a night game.