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Cardinals excited for Opening Day at home

SAN FRANCISCO -- Following two months on the road, the Cardinals are eager to get back to Busch Stadium for Monday's home opener.

Manager Mike Matheny spent five seasons as a player with the Cardinals and took part in last year's opener at Busch Stadium, saying there's nothing quite like it.

"Opening Day in St. Louis is different than anywhere else. There's no question about it," Matheny said. "I think that's pretty universal; people agree with that."

Jaime Garcia will receive the starting honor in front of what figures to be an energized St. Louis crowd when the Cardinals host the Reds for the opener of a three-game series.

The Cardinals could also receive a boost from David Freese, who could be activated from the 15-day disabled list as he rehabs from a back injury. Freese is on track to rejoin the Cardinals on Monday after he played nine innings at third base Sunday with Triple-A Memphis, going 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored.

"Things look good right now," Matheny said before Sunday's series finale against the Giants. "We'll see how the day finishes up before we make any strong statement."

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to
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