Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was cleared to start taking some swings again after a visit to Braves hand specialist Dr. Gary Lourie on Thursday morning.
Freeman was set to begin taking dry swings and to hit off the tee when the Braves held their workout Thursday afternoon after traveling to Chicago. Depending on how he felt afterward and what the Braves training staff thought, Freeman was hopeful he could play Friday when the Braves open the second half against the White Sox, or if not, then on Saturday.
“It’s feeling a lot better,” he said Thursday.
Freeman was one of four Braves starters to go down in a three-game span against the Reds last week, including Jason Heyward (strained right hamstring) on Thursday, both B.J. Upton (right adductor strain) and Justin Upton (strained left calf) on Friday, and Freeman on Saturday.
The Braves are optimisitic about getting both Heyward and Justin Upton back in the lineup on Friday against the White Sox. B.J. Upton is on the disabled list, a decision the Braves made last weekend before activating Evan Gattis from the DL.
Freeman jammed his thumb making a tag at first base on Chris Heisey in the first inning of Saturday’s game against the Reds and was not able to play in Tuesday night’s All-Star game in New York. He’s still wearing a splint for precautionary reasons but his flexibility has improved each day.
Freeman said earlier this week, it was just one of those freak plays that happens at first base.
“It’s just a throw up the line,” Freeman said. “I have to go and catch it and tag the runner. I spun with him and everything. It was just my thumb was in the wrong spot.”
Freeman is leading the Braves in hits (96), batting average (.308), RBIs (61) and on-base percentage (.386). He is third in the National League with a .423 batting average with runners in scoring position. He has been the Braves most consistent hitter since coming off an April DL stint with a strained oblique.
Freeman won fans’ All-Star approval nationwide, beating out Dodgers sensation Yasiel Puig for the Final Vote with a record 19.7 million votes.
Ratings rise: The Braves ratings on both FOX Sports South and SportSouth in Atlanta are 17.9% ahead of last year’s numbers at the All Star Break. The Braves have a 4.15 household rating in Atlanta through 87 games this year, after a 3.52 rating through 56 games last season.