ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese, who has been out the last month with ankle and toe injuries, could begin a rehab assignment soon.
Manager Tony La Russa said Friday that Freese was close to being ready to play but had yet to run at 100 percent. La Russa was confident the rookie, who is batting .296 with four homers and 36 RBIs in 70 games, would be back in the lineup by mid-August.
"He's making a lot of noises about being very close," La Russa said. "Our training staff wants to make sure he does stuff step by step before he goes crazy. But it's all working really well for him."
Pitcher Kyle Lohse is set for a second rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Memphis after forearm surgery in late May. La Russa indicated the right-hander might need one more minor league appearance after that before rejoining the roster.
A day ahead of the trade deadline, La Russa wasn't overly optimistic more help was on the way.
"It's getting pretty late," La Russa said. "I just don't know, and I don't ask."
General manager John Mozeliak texted the AP: "All's quiet."
The Cardinals were a half-game behind NL Central-leading Cincinnati after dropping five of seven. They were 34-16 at home and 22-30 on the road.
"It's just lately that we've not been good on the road, that hasn't been true all of the 2010 season," La Russa said. "We can change that the next time we go on the road."
Freese has a bone bruise on his right ankle and his rehab was complicated when he dropped a weight that broke his left big toe during a workout at Busch Stadium on July 18. He was hoping to head for the minors at the end of the weekend after running Thursday without problems.
"The ankle feels good; the toe feels all right," Freese said. "I can't wait to get back. It's been frustrating this past month."
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)