SAN DIEGO -- Even after a visit to a hand and wrist specialist in Anaheim, Kyle Lohse's right arm inflammation continues to confound the Cardinals.

Lohse traveled north on Wednesday to the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic for a specialized examination, but was back in the clubhouse hours before the game against the Padres without a decision about his immediate or long-term future. His spot in the starting rotation comes up on Saturday, but given the uncertainty of his injury, he will miss that turn, if not more.

Manager Tony La Russa said the team has not yet made a decision on who will get Lohse's spot, or any corresponding roster moves. Lohse felt the injury in his last start and has been shut down since.

"We got some information, but we're about 48 hours away [from a decision]," La Russa said. "I think they're going to gather as much data as they can before a decision is made."

LaRussa has said that the team will look within the organization for help, but the announcement will likely not be made until Friday.

Cards' Freese emerges as everyday player

SAN DIEGO -- While rookie third baseman David Freese has played in more consecutive innings than any other Cardinals player, he has no intention of taking a day off any time soon.

Freese has been locked at third base for every inning since April 20, a total of 190 innings that span 33 games. The way Freese sees it, his consistent playing time is working out just how he likes it.

"Coming up in the Minors, I've always been an everyday player," Freese said. "That's what I want to be up here. Obviously, when [Felipe Lopez] went down, I knew that I'd have to play more innings and I kind of got settled in."

Lopez missed 20 games with an injured right elbow earlier this month, but even as the veteran infielder has returned to health, he has played more frequently at shortstop, including in the first two games of the series in San Diego.

As an added benefit to the team, Freese has also performed well during his rookie campaign. Freese is tied with Matt Holliday for most multi-hit games (14) on the team and leads all National League rookies with 48 hits.

Even with manager Tony La Russa's penchant for lineup machinations based on batter-pitcher matchups, Freese is confident he can continue to play on a consistent basis.

"You know how Tony likes to work his matchups and everything like that, but I want to be an everyday guy," Freese said. "Whether it's a lefty or righty on the mound, that's what I'm working towards."

Molina unfazed by Padres' running game

SAN DIEGO -- Despite facing the team that leads the Majors in stolen bases, catcher Yadier Molina refuses to change his approach to shutting down the opponent's running game.

The Padres have swiped 53 bases this season, including one by catcher Yorvit Torrealba in Tuesday's game, but Molina, who ranks second in the National League with 11 runners thrown out this season (Colorado's Miguel Olivo is first with 15), is unfazed by San Diego's success.

"I don't care, I just go and catch my game," Molina said. "If they run, I'm going to try to catch them. I don't think that way, I just want to win games."

Manager Tony La Russa acknowledged that the Padres make the most of opportunities not only to steal bases, but with aggressive baserunning in general.

"It's a nice asset to have," La Russa said. "They've had speed here before, but they have several guys now that if you're not effective in defending the running game, they're going to get an extra base or two. I guess they're trying to max out that part of the game."

Suffice it to say that both LaRussa and the two-time Gold Glover Molina, who leads all Major League catchers with a 42.1 throwing percentage since 2005, will have their eyes on San Diego baserunners throughout the three-game series.

Worth noting

Reliever Blake Hawksworth is available to pitch again after a right groin injury shut him down for three games last weekend. Even with P.J. Walters making the start on Thursday, the bullpen is back at full strength with seven available pitchers. ... Albert Pujols continued his tendency to follow a hitless series with a big game on Tuesday. Pujols collected three hits, all singles, in Tuesday's 1-0 loss after he was held without a hit during the three games in Anaheim. Over his career, Pujols has homered six times in eight games following a hitless series and has batted .556 with 11 RBIs overall. ... The Cardinals vs. Reds game on June 2 has been picked up by ESPN, but the starting time remains the same at 7:15 p.m. CT. ESPN also selected the June 14 game against Seattle and moved that start time to 6:09 CT.