ST. LOUIS -- David Freese is one step closer to returning from a broken left hand.
Freese, who underwent surgery on May 3, was cleared to start swinging after meeting with hand specialist Dr. David M. Brown on Tuesday.
It was welcome news to the third baseman, who didn't expect to swing a bat this early in his rehab.
"I'm way ahead of schedule," Freese said Tuesday.
Freese passed a series of tests examining his range of motion and ability to make a fist. He won't begin throwing for at least two weeks before doctors examine him again, but Freese will take swings in a progression: hitting wiffle balls, tennis balls, then baseballs.
"If it feels good we'll just keep moving," Freese said. "We'll just take it in stride but now it's just a matter of strength. By the time I get to full strength then the bone will be ready to go."
Freese has not played since breaking his hand on May 1 at Atlanta.
McClellan to skip start with sore hip
ST. LOUIS -- Starting pitcher Kyle McClellan will miss his next start because of soreness in his left hip, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa acknowledged after St. Louis' 4-3 win Tuesday.
McClellan said he felt pain in his hip after delivering a pitch in the first inning of Monday's game. He allowed a career-high seven runs in four innings, his shortest outing as a starter.
"It's going to take some time, so we're planning to do something this week in his start, whether it's push someone up or back," La Russa said. "He's going to miss some time."
McClellan is 6-2 with a 3.86 ERA.
Sore quad makes Holliday a late scratch
ST. LOUIS -- Left fielder Matt Holliday was scratched from the starting lineup 25 minutes before the Cardinals' game against San Francisco on Tuesday with discomfort in his left quadriceps.
Holliday pinch-hit in the fifth inning Tuesday, striking out on three pitches. He is batting .342 with six homers and 31 RBIs. After the game, manager Tony La Russa was unsure of Holliday's status moving forward.
"I hope that the answer is he feels like he did before he started playing again because the idea was to make sure it was all gone," La Russa said.
Holliday first experienced tightness in the muscle May 18. On Monday, he made his first start in left field since that game.
"We need to get him healthy because he gives us a lot," La Russa said. "We've just got to get him well, whatever it takes."
Adam Ottavino allowed six earned runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings Monday as Triple-A Memphis lost, 9-2, to Omaha. Andrew Brown was the lone bright spot for the Redbirds' offense, going 1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored.
A seven-run fifth inning was not enough for Double-A Springfield to hold off San Antonio, and the Cardinals lost, 9-8. Zach Cox hit a two-run homer while Jermaine Curtis and Audrey Perez added solo shots.
Class A Palm Beach had a scheduled off-day Monday.
Class A Quad Cities swept a doubleheader Monday against Burlington, using a five-run ninth inning to win the first game, 8-3. Cody Stanley's two-run blast in the fifth inning was the difference in the second game as the River Bandits won, 3-2.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Steve Overbey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.