Cardinals third baseman David Freese will open the regular season on the disabled list because of lingering back issues, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A recent MRI on Freese's back was considered encouraging, but the Cardinals have opted for the conservative approach. Goold notes that infielder Ryan Jackson will replace Freese on the active roster.
Freese, 29, is coming off a season in which he batted .293/.372/.467 with 20 homers in 144 games. For his career, the 2011 World Series MVP owns an OPS+ of 121 across 1,234 plate appearances. On the downside, Freese has missed almost a full season's worth of games in just four years at the major-league level.
At third base, it's likely that the Cardinals will turn to Matt Carpenter in Freese's absence. While Carpenter certainly has the bat and glove to stand in for Freese, such a move will prevent Carpenter from opening the season at his new position of second base.