Freeman excited to be back from DL; Uggla wants to play two

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Freeman excited to be back from DL; Uggla wants to play two

DENVER – Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman could barely contain his excitement Monday after being activated and penciled into the lineup against Colorado at Coors Field, where he’s homered in three of his past four games.

Then the game got postponed because of snow. Freeman was left to bounce around the clubhouse and presumably the team hotel, burning off energy until Tuesday’s split doubleheader at 3:10 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. Eastern Time.

“I’ll just have to wait for tomorrow,” said Freeman, who spent 15 days on the DL recovering from an oblique strain. “Unfortunately (the game got postponed), but it’s hard to play in the snow…. I’m off the DL. I’m excited still, even if it’s canceled.”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and Freeman said there would be no restrictions on the first baseman in Tuesday’s doubleheader, which will be played in temperatures near freezing and possibly snow showers during the opening game.

“I’m ready to go,” said Freeman, who went 5-for-10 with two doubles in three rehab games at Triple-A Gwinnett. “I’m just happy to be here. Those last 15 days have been hard, watching the team on TV. So it’s just nice to be here.”

The Braves are happy to have him. They hit .157 and totaled three runs while losing three in a row at Pittsburgh through Sunday. Now they’ll welcome back Freeman, who was 7-for-17 (.412) with a homer and seven RBIs in the first five games this season before going on the DL.

He has a .406 career average (13-for-32) at Coors Field with three doubles, a triple, four homers, 11 RBIs and a .938 slugging percentage in six games. But while he’s thrived at Denver, it’s also where his dry-eye condition became a major issue last May, when the thin air and windy conditions caused him fits and he eventually had to sit.

Freeman struggled for much of the season to find a pair of glasses he could hit in, or contact lenses that would stay moist. During the offseason he found a suitable pair of contacts and drops that have helped him control the situation, with the aid of non-prescription, wraparound glasses he wears while playing defense, to keep out wind and irritants.

“I was kind of excited (about returning from the DL at Coors Field),” he said. “But then I was like, oh, man, that’s where my eyes went bad. Hopefully the wind dies down and I can get through this series OK.”

The Braves have a 12-3 record against the Rockies over the past two seasons, including 5-2 at Coors Field.

“Hopefully we can get back to winning ways tomorrow,” Freeman said. “It’s supposed to snow again. We’re facing Francis, hopefully we can get out there and get rolling again. It was a tough series in Pittsburgh, but we’re going to have those during the year.”

Uggla wants to play two: After straining a calf muscle Saturday and missing a start Sunday, second baseman Dan Uggla said he was ready to play Monday and expected to play both games of Tuesday’s doubleheader.

“It feels good,” he said. “I’m pretty good at managing my own limitations with (injuries). It allows me to come back maybe a little earlier than I’m probably supposed to, but you’ve just got to be disciplined enough to know how far you can take it.”

Gonzalez didn’t sound so sure about how far Uggla would take it Tuesday.

“I think Danny won’t play two games because he’s coming off that calf (strain),” said Gonzalez, who wasn’t sure if Uggla would have been in the lineup Monday if the game had been played on a wet field.

“I don’t want him, after he comes out of a game because he had a little calf thing, then all of a sudden you’re thinking he can play 18 innings — I don’t think that’s smart.”

Uggla didn’t mince words when asked about potentially playing only one game in the doubleheader.

“I will be disappointed,” he said. “There’s no reason for me not to play both games. I feel good and I’m ready to go.”

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