Freddie Freeman starts ‘new chapter’ with 1-for-2 Dodgers day

Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, left, announces the arrival of free agent Freddie Freeman during a news conference at spring training baseball, Friday, March 18, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, left, announces the arrival of free agent Freddie Freeman during a news conference at spring training baseball, Friday, March 18, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Credit: AP

PHOENIX — Ex-Brave Freddie Freeman made his spring debut in a Dodgers uniform in a 10-8 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Camelback Ranch Tuesday.

Freeman went 1 for 2 while batting third — L.A. manager Dave Roberts said he envisions Freeman batting either second or third this season — and slapped a first-inning single the other way to left field after being serenaded with chants of “Freddie! Freddie!” by the crowd.

“Usually Dodger fans aren’t chanting my name,” joked Freeman, the former Braves star who finalized a six-year, $162 million contract with the Dodgers on Friday. “It was nice to get back out there.”

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Freeman had eight family members in attendance during the game and said many more will be driving out from Southern California to see the Orange County native this weekend.

“Easy drive now to get to spring training,” he said.

It’s been one of the many changes over the last week for Freeman, who laughed when later asked whether anything has felt normal while adjusting to his new team.

“To be honest, no,” he said. “It’s my first Arizona spring training. So there’s trying to learn how to get to the field every day without my GPS. Everything’s just new. But what a great organization. They’ve been very welcoming and let me get my bearings here and it’s been a great five days so far.”

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Roberts believes Freeman, who had previously spent his entire professional career with the Braves after being drafted out of Orange El Modena High in 2007, is getting comfortable with his new surroundings, too.

“I do believe there’s a heavy heart in there, a lot of emotions [when] you’re with a team for 15 years,” Roberts said. “I think he’s still trying to sift through those emotions. But I know he’s happy to be here. The guys are happy. And each day gets a little bit easier for him.”

With most of his first-week obligations out of the way, Freeman’s attention is turning toward the start of the season. He said he doesn’t feel his game is behind right now, despite the delayed start to spring training. He also wants to play frequently over the rest of spring camp after getting in four innings on Tuesday.

“I’ve been getting as much work as I can on the back fields but nothing’s like a game,” said Freeman, who beat out a potential double-play grounder in his second at-bat. “So it was nice to get a couple of ABs.”

After getting dressed and walking out of the clubhouse following his exit from the game, Freeman returned to the vast blue-colored room accompanied by his 5-year-old son, Charlie, showing his eldest son around his dad’s new home.

“This was a good day,” Freeman said, adding: “It’s a new chapter.”