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Cards 'encouraged' by MRI of Freese's back

2013-03-25T08:40:00Z 2013-03-25T10:45:43Z Cards 'encouraged' by MRI of Freese's backBy Derrick Goold dgoold@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8285 stltoday.com

JUPITER, Fla. • The initial read on an MRI take of third baseman David Freese's back and how the infielder is feeling this morning has the Cardinals "encouraged" just a day after uncertainty reigned.

General manager John Mozeliak used that word to describe the reaction to Freese's improvement and the picture taken of his lower back.

"Opening day has not been ruled out," Mozeliak said.

"Monday's possible," Freese echoed.

Freese will receive an anti-inflammatory injection Monday. That will keep him out of the lineup at least for 48 hours as the team waits to see how the shot did to attack the inflammation. Freese said the MRI taken early Monday morning did not show any damage to the discs or back, just persistent irritation and swelling in the area.

The Cardinals have only four exhibition games remaining, including one this afternoon against the Minnesota Twins.

"I didn't know what to expect," Freese said of going for the MRI. "It was feeling better today."

Freese remains back in Jupiter, Fla., this morning along with several other starters -- including right fielder Carlos Beltran (fractured toe) -- while the rest of the team plays across the state in Fort Myers, Fla. Rick Hummel, The Post-Dispatch's Hall of Fame baseball writer, will be providing coverage here on C-Beat from Shelby Miller's start.

Jason Motte continues to test his injured right elbow in an attempt to gauge the severity of the damage done to his flexor tendon. Motte has been doing some range-of-motion exercises and has felt relief from the pain. He must show that he can do a series of arm exercises without pain before being cleared to pick up a ball and begin the early stages of a return to throwing.

The more days he misses because of the soreness in the joint the longer it will likely take him to return because of the time needed to rebuild arm strength.

There will be the usual Cardinals Chat this afternoon at 1 p.m. St. Louis time. We can riff on the game at the same time.

Check back for more updates from Jupiter, Fla., here at C-Beat.

Derrick Goold covers the Cardinals and Major League Baseball for The Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @dgoold or on Facebook at Facebook.com/BirdLandPD

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Cardinal Beat

Baseball writers Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel cover the Cardinals for the Post-Dispatch and STLtoday.com. They'll provide daily Cardinals updates here, from the start of spring training through the end of the season and beyond.

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