ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have placed third baseman David Freese on the disabled list with a bone bruise on his right ankle and recalled reliever Fernando Salas to take Freese's roster spot, the club announced Tuesday.
Freese suffered the injury on June 5 after stepping awkwardly on third base, and the rookie said that he has been playing through pain ever since. In 18 games since the injury, Freese has hit .220 with a .264 on-base percentage and .240 slugging percentage.
"It got better for a couple days, but I just wanted to get back out there and try and tough it out," Freese said. "I thought it would gradually get better as I was playing. It just never did.
"Hitting was tough, getting of my backside, it just wasn't helping."
Manager Tony La Russa said he expects that Freese will be back within the 15 days.
"We have been wrong before, but they are telling me we should have him by the All-Star break," La Russa said.
Salas has made four appearances with the Cardinals this season, tossing 4 1/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
Pujols ties Musial for multi-HR games
ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols told reporters on Monday that he would not be participating in this year's Home Run Derby at the All-Star game in Anaheim.
He decided to put on his own show Tuesday.
Pujols went deep twice in against D-backs starter Dontrelle Willis, boosting his season total to 18 home runs.
It was Pujols' 37th career multi-homer game -- and fourth of the season -- tying him for first in Cardinals history with Stan Musial.
"It is pretty special," Pujols said of tying Musial. "Obviously, you guys know what I think of Stan Musial. To be able to be in the same category, the same mention as Stan, is special. ... To be able to see what he has done, not just on the field but off the field, and the example he has set for so many players, past players and future players, right now, I just want to be able to represent, just like he did."
Although Pujols still has a way to go before replacing Stan The Man as the No. 1 legend in Cardinals history, the comparisons are popping up with more and more frequency.
Known for his classiness during his playing days, Musial has made sure to let Pujols know how much he respects the current Cardinals slugger challenging his records. In the latest show of support for Pujols, Musial made a surprise visit several weeks ago to Pujols' charity All-Star game for children with Down syndrome. With some help from Pujols, Musial went out to throw the first pitch -- a gesture manager Tony La Russa appreciated from the past and present Cardinal All-Stars.
"It is like I have said before, I keep saying he is amazing, but you can always come up with examples that prove it," La Russa said. "You have got to be amazing to do that in your ninth year, to be in the same sentence as Stan Musial. That is a good one. I think that tells you a lot about his greatness."
To satisfy La Russa, here are a few more Pujols-Musial comparisons:
Through his first 10 seasons, Pujols has a 171 OPS+, a statistic that relates OPS to the league average and adjusts for ballparks, according to baseballreference.com. Through Musial's first 10 full years, he had a 172 OPS+.
Pujols has made the All-Star team every year after his second season -- ditto with Musial.
Pujols' career batting average stands at .332, Musial's at .331.
Musial is atop the Cardinals' all-time list in home runs, RBIs, and extra base hits. Pujols is second and closing in on all three.
With a few more of Musial's records to likely fall in the near future, Pujols can expect to hear the same refrain each time he etches his name in history.
"To be in the same sentence as Stan, you have to be great," La Russa said.
Cardinals focused on protecting pitchers
ST. LOUIS -- With St. Louis placing third baseman David Freese on the disabled list and recalling reliever Fernando Salas to the 25-man roster Tuesday, the Cardinals appear likely to operate with 13 pitchers and 12 position players through the rest of the seven-game homestand.
Exacerbating the short bench is Ryan Ludwick's availability. The right fielder has been sitting with a left calf strain since Saturday, and manager Tony La Russa said he did not know whether Ludwick would be able to pinch-hit.
"It is one of those things you don't worry about, I don't worry about it," La Russa said. "It is what it is. Less moves to second guess.
"It is a lot worse to pitch pitchers that shouldn't be pitching and have your pitching staff get beat up, then to have [pitchers] running the bases."
La Russa said the team did not give any thought to recalling a hitter from the Minors. The team will start Jeff Suppan on Wednesday in the finale with the D-backs and Blake Hawksworth on Thursday against the Brewers. The Cardinals are also not sure about Chris Carpenter's status after the righty was struck by a line drive on Monday.
"You have Suppan, you have Hawksworth, you don't know about Carp. How are we fixed for pitchers? We are not," La Russa said. "You have got to protect pitching,. It is not even a hard call."
Carpenter's status remains uncertain
ST. LOUIS -- After being hit on the pitching arm with a line drive in Monday's game, it remains unclear whether Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter will be able to make his next start.
Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa said the club would be able to make an evaluation on Wednesday.
"He is sore, but he is not nearly as sore as he was yesterday. The big thing is tomorrow," La Russa said. "I don't think he has to make a throw. He just has to show improvement from where he is. Keep our fingers crossed."
Carpenter was able to do some throwing on Tuesday, with a bullpen session scheduled for Wednesday.
"I played catch. Felt pretty good," Carpenter said.
La Russa denies gamesmanship charge
ST. LOUIS -- After the Cardinals' 6-5 win over the D-backs Monday, D-backs starting pitcher Dan Haren suggested that St. Louis skipper Tony La Russa purposefully got himself ejected in the ninth inning of a come-from-behind win to pump us his team and ice Haren on the mound.
When asked on Tuesday before the game, La Russa had an adamant response.
"I would never use the umpire," La Russa said. "You don't use them for the fans. You don't use them to fire up your players or pick them up. ... I would never do it. I never, ever use the umpires for some kind of competitive advantage or whatever, never."
After La Russa was ejected, the Cardinals took advantage of two singles and two subsequent throwing errors to walk off with a three run inning and the victory.
Former Major League callup Allen Craig continues to smoke the ball for Triple-A Memphis. Craig went 2-for-4 on Monday with a three-run homer and four RBIs on the, day. Infielder Tyler Greene recorded a triple on Monday and both he and Jon Jay now have double-digit hitting streaks going. ... Double-A Springfield lost 4-1 to Tulsa on Monday. Curt Smith led the team, going 2-for-4 with a double. Starter Scott McGregor tossed six innings and gave up four runs in the loss. ... Xavier Scruggs continued his hot hitting ways for Class A Palm Beach, blasting a three-run triple to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Scott Schneider picked up the win with seven innings pitched, the one earned and two hits allowed. ... Class A Quad Cities won, 7-6, in extra innings on Monday, when Frederick Parejo scored off a triple and wild pitch. Devin Goodwin finished the game 3-for-7.
Michael Bleach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.