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4/8/2013 12:14 P.M. ET

Activated from DL, Freese makes season debut

Following rehab assignment, third baseman bats sixth in home opener

ST. LOUIS -- After a three-game Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis, David Freese was activated from the disabled list and inserted into the Cardinals' home opener starting lineup on Monday.

Freese, who suffered a back strain on March 4, wrapped up his time at Memphis by going 3-for-5 and playing nine innings at third base on Sunday. It marked the first time this year that Freese had played a full game. In total, Freese finished 4-for-12 with two doubles and four RBIs with Memphis. He played 16 innings in the field.

"The few days I had in Memphis went about as good as they could have gone," said Freese, who batted sixth on Monday. "I did plenty to prove that I warranted to come back here and get in that lineup today."

Freese said his back has been feeling good for about a week, something that he attributes to the period of rest he took late in Spring Training after it was decided that he would begin the year on the disabled list. The reports were encouraging enough out of Memphis, manager Mike Matheny said, that Freese should not be limited during these first few days back with the big league club.

"If he wasn't 100 percent, he wouldn't be here," Matheny said. "He's ready to go and we're excited to go out and watch him do his thing."

The timing of Freese's return allowed him to participate in the team's home opener, a day, Freese said, "I don't ever want to miss."

To clear space for Freese on the 25-man roster, the Cardinals optioned infielder Ryan Jackson to Memphis.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.