The 33-year-old David Freese parlayed a one-year spring training deal into a two-year, $11 million extension based on a .276/.355/.437 line with 12 homers and 49 RBI through Aug. 22. He played well at third base with Jung-Ho Kang (knee) sidelined for the first five weeks and then split time at first base and third the rest of the way. Since 2012, Freese has hit between 10 and 14 homers while driving in 49 to 55 RBI each year. After signing his extension last summer, his numbers slipped: he hit .247 with one homer and six RBI in 101 plate appearances despite a .404 BABIP. There's a better chance his numbers decline than improve in 2017 given his advancing age and competition for playing time.
Freese is dealing with left leg discomfort and is not in Sunday's starting lineup. Speaking on his weekly radio show, GM Neal Huntington said that Freese would be fine long-term and that he could play if the team still had playoff hopes. Pittsburgh signed Freese to a two-year extension in August.
Freese is not in the lineup Tuesday against the Phillies, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. Freese has assumed everyday first base duties while Starling Marte (back) has been on the shelf, but the corner infielder will get a day to rest Tuesday. Josh Bell will slide over to first base to cover for Freese, while Matt Joyce enters the starting lineup to fill the void in the outfield left by Bell's shift.
Freese went 1-for-3 Friday and seems to be seeing the ball better after a protracted slump. He has five hits in his last 11 at-bats. Freese was hitting .167 (6-for-36) with no extra-base hits since signing his contract extension prior to Wednesday. His playing time isn't guaranteed when Starling Marte returns -- which pushes Josh Bell back to first base from the outfield -- but at least it looks like he's regained his hitting stroke.
Freese is absent from the starting lineup Tuesday against the Cardinals. Freese has been less than impressive at the plate as of late, so he'll get his second day off in the past three games. Jung Ho Kang will man the hot corner in his stead.
Freese is out of the lineup Sunday against the Brewers. Freese has gotten the call at the hot corner in five of the last six contests, but the veteran will rest in favor of the 24-year-old Adam Frazier for the afternoon contest.