Freddie Freeman doubles, homers against Rays

The reigning National League MVP has had a nondescript spring, so it’s only natural he revs it up with opening day in sight.

ExploreFreddie Freeman believes he’ll be hitting third in lineup

Freddie Freeman had an opposite-field double and homer in the Braves’ 16-5 loss Sunday to the Rays. The first baseman entered the day hitting .161 (5-for-31) with one extra-base hit during the exhibition season.

Freeman is the last player the Braves were worrying about. Nonetheless, they’re happy to see him warm up a bit before opening day Thursday.

“Hopefully it’s perfect timing,” manager Brian Snitker said. “That was real good.”

Notes from Sunday:

- The Braves’ roster includes 31 players following Saturday’s series of moves. Their 26-man roster is set, barring another addition, and will feature a four-man bench, four-man rotation and 10-man bullpen to start the season.

- It can’t be stressed enough that the game didn’t matter, but the Braves surrendered 12 runs in the bottom of the eighth. The Rays scored every run before registered their second out. The Braves used four pitchers in the inning: Chad Sobotka (0 IP, 4 ER), Victor Arano (1/3 IP, 5 ER), Daysbel Hernandez (1/3 IP, 3 ER) and Kyle Muller (1/3 IP). Better it happens in March than October.

- Catcher Alex Jackson blasted his second spring homer, an opposite-field two-run shot. It came about 24 hours after Snitker told reporters Jackson would open the season as the team’s backup catcher. No one has questioned Jackson’s power, but he’s struggled making consistent contact in the minors and majors.

- Charlie Morton made his final spring start, allowing two hits over three scoreless innings. The Braves haven’t announced their rotation alignment beyond opening-day starter Max Fried, but it seems Morton will pitch the second game of the season Saturday.

“My arm feels pretty good,” Morton said. “My delivery feels pretty good. Today I felt really loose. I felt like my stuff was coming out well for how relaxed and loose I felt. I just feel off a little with my off speed, especially with my curveball. I’m not repeating my delivery, the shape of it. That’ll come in time. I’d rather be in a spot where my stuff is there and I just have to hone it in instead of having good locations and I look up and my stuff isn’t where it needs to be.”

- The Braves’ first opponent, the Phillies, feel like they upgraded their rotation depth over the winter. Newcomers Matt Moore and Chase Anderson had encouraging springs as the team seeks stability in a rotation headlined by opening-day starter Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. The Braves will see plenty of Phillies pitching over the first couple weeks: They face the Phillies in six of their first nine games, beginning with opening day Thursday in Philadelphia.

- Ian Anderson will make his fifth and final start Monday against the Red Sox. The Braves have two exhibition contests remaining, both against Boston.