LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Braves fans can come down off the tall buildings: Freddie Freeman is OK.
The first baseman gave the Braves and their fans a scare when he left Friday’s game shaking his right hand and wrist in obvious discomfort after a second-inning strikeout. The same wrist that slowed him for much of last season and caused him to miss 44 games.
But this time it wasn’t as bad as it appeared it might be. Not bad at all, actually.
“Everything’s good, just a little scare,” Freeman said Saturday. “Scared me. But we’re all good.”
He was out of the lineup Saturday night against the Nationals, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he’d get three or four at-bats in Sunday’s road game against the Astros. Freeman did a full workout Saturday with the team.
“I just had a little (pain) on the check swing — it was not my wrist, it was just the top of my hand,” he said. “I was trying to be overly cautious. I felt something, so I kind of pulled myself out of the game just to make sure. I came in and they worked on it for 10 minutes and I was right back in the cage to test it out, and I was completely fine. Everything is good. There’s no problem with my wrist.
Freeman still had soreness in the wrist after last season, which prevented him from swinging a bat until Dec. 31 and kept him from hitting any baseballs until mid-January, and only then off a tee or flipped underhanded. He hit against no overhanded pitching until spring training began in late February.
But he’d had no issues while playing half of the Braves’ early spring-training games, and certainly hasn’t looked rusty: He’s hitting .375 (3-f0r-8) with two home runs, a double, six walks and a .643 on-base percentage.
It wasn’t until the two-time former All-Star checked his swing Friday that he felt a twinge — not in the wrist but on top of the hand, where he’d received one of the multiple cortisone injections he had for the wrist and hand issues.
“I think my heart sank a little bit because after that I was just swinging at the next pitch and get out of there so I could get the thing taken care of,” said Freeman, who struck out on the next pitch. “But now I’m glad I did it, and know I’m OK and get back out there and get some more reps in.”
After leaving the game, he went to the training room and had the hand examined, manipulated and massaged by a Braves physical therapist. Freeman was taking swings in the batting cage beyond left field before the third inning was over.
“It just that on the check swing, I hadn’t done that yet and I felt a little something,” he said, “so I might as well make sure everything’s OK. And everything is OK.”
The plan was for Freeman to play consecutive games Friday and Saturday, then three in a row for the first time after a day off Sunday. He hopes to merely revise that schedule and play Sunday and Monday, then three consecutive games beginning Wednesday, after which he’d be on a normal playing schedule the rest of spring.
“I’m going to try to jump back into my schedule,” he said. “But we’ll see what their plan is.”
Freeman apologized for not talking to the media after he left the game Friday, but said he wanted to give it a full 24 hours to make sure everything was OK before he gave up update.
When a reporter joked that Freeman’s good news would allow worried Braves fans to come down from ledges, Freeman laughed and said, “Believe me, I would have joined them if something happened.”