Pirates corner infielder David Freese has battled depression throughout his life, often making his reputation as a Cardinals World Series hero (and St. Louis-area native) feel like a burden, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes. Freese’s depression and difficulty defining himself in the wake of his 2011 World Series heroics led to a downward spiral. (Freese also had a previous history of alcoholism and alcohol-related arrests.) “You could tell something was not right,” says Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said. “I don’t know the bloody details what was going on, but I knew the path he was on was going to make life difficult for him to manage.” The Cardinals noticed the problem and provided counseling, but ultimately decided that it was best for both Freese and the team if he had a change of scenery. They then traded him to the Angels, where he wouldn’t have to deal quite so much with the social demands of his popularity in St. Louis. Freese also met the woman who became his wife. Now in Pittsburgh, he feels he’s turned his life around. “I used to be so afraid what would happen to me after baseball,” he says. Now, though, “I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. You wake up, and you’re ready to face the world.” Here’s more from the NL Central.
- Lefty Amir Garrett, who’s off to a fast start as a big-league rookie this year, has been in the Reds system since they drafted him out of high school in 2011, but in an unusual arrangement, the team allowed him to play college basketball at St. John’s in his offseasons, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Garrett averaged 6.2 points per game as a guard at St. John’s for two years while navigating the lower levels of the Reds’ farm system. “That experience, I’d never change it,” he says. “If I could do it all over again, I’d do the same thing. The education I got, becoming a better student, a better person. College taught me how to grow up and be a man.”
- Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks’ fastball velocity so far this season has been in the 86 MPH range, about two MPH slower than usual, and he’s struggled so far, with 11 runs and four home runs allowed over 16 innings. The Cubs aren’t yet concerned about him, however, as Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes. They feel that when his velocity returns, he’ll have enough separation to make his usually devastating changeup effective again. “When he gets back to 87-88 (mph) then you’re going to see that greater separation,” says manager Joe Maddon. “There’s not a dramatic separation between the two pitches, and that’s where the disconnect for him is now.”