David Freese solid so far this season
Third baseman focused on producing good at-bats, runs
David Freese is enjoying a solid rookie year for the Cardinals, hitting .311 with four home runs and 32 RBIs. A former ninth-round selection in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, Freese hit .323 in his first 17 big league games last year helping him earn a job at third base for the defending NL Central champions. Freese, who has been limited to pinch-hitting duties the last few games due to a sprained right ankle, recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBPLAYERS.com: As we near the midpoint of June, how do you evaluate what is your first full big league season?
Freese: I feel like I've been pretty consistent. Being an everyday guy, I do want to produce for this club on a consistent basis. We have a lot of good things to accomplish here, and we just want to keep things going.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Do you feel like what you have accomplished so far is indicative of the type of player you are?
Freese: I try not to worry about my stats and how they look. Rather, it's more about having good at-bats. When you put the ball in play, you cannot control what happens after the contact. In the field, this pitching staff likes to throw ground balls, and it's up to me there to make the plays behind them.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How do you rate yourself as a fielder?
Freese: I think I'm doing the job, but you can always do better. I'm confident there, and I think the Cardinals are confident in me being over there.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How do you think you complement this offense, an offense that features a lot of great right-handed hitters?
Freese: I think I just need to do what I've been doing. We do have a lot of big boppers on this club, and that takes some of the pressure off of me to have to hit home runs and whatnot. Obviously home runs are nice, but my main focus is on producing runs whether it's scoring runs or driving in runs.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What's been your in-season highlight so far?
Freese: It would be the game where I had six runs batted in. You can't do that, of course, without guys getting on base, but to have that opportunity and to come through to help the team win was pretty awesome.
MLBPLAYERS.com: On the flip side, what is a moment or game that you would like to take back?
Freese: There was a game against Milwaukee in which I committed two errors in the same inning. That's one I would like not to have seen on "Baseball Tonight." It was early in the year and that's going to happen when you play this game long enough. Those things simply happen. That's the way I viewed it, and you just move on.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Have your reached a comfort level at the big league level?
Freese: I do feel comfortable. I feel like I come to the park each and every day and that comfort level increases. We have a great group here, and I learn a lot from guys like Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. I'm very fortunate to have those types of guys around the clubhouse.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Has anyone given you a piece of advice that you have really taken to heart?
Freese: I was told awhile back that guys stay in the big leagues, even when they're not hot, by grinding out at-bats, by taking walks and by taking those bloop hits. Keep things going, keep things positive and when you get hot, you'll get hot. In a nutshell, just continue to grind things out.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You did not begin you pro career with the Cardinals, right?
Freese: I was actually drafted by the Padres in '06, and I came here in the Jim Edmonds trade in December '07. I was a fifth-year senior drafted in the ninth round.
MLBPLAYERS.com: With the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft having recently taken place, does that bring back memories?
Freese: Oh yeah. I think that time of year is always fun. The way I view it, a lot of dreams are coming true there and then. I'm happy for each guy who gets drafted, and hopefully it is the beginning for a lot of great things to happen.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Not being that first-round selection yourself, what advice can you give to a player just selected regardless of in what round he went?
Freese: You will have a lot of ups and downs. You have to stay even keel with things and keep working. You can never work hard enough. That's something you have to take seriously. You have to be ready to go to the park every day and work your tail off.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.