Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos reiterated Wednesday that the team isn’t concerned with Freddie Freeman’s right elbow inflammation. The first baseman was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup because of the discomfort.
Freeman had offseason surgery on the bothersome elbow, which spoiled the end of his 2019 season. Dr. David Altchek performed the surgery, which removed multiple bone spurs and loose fragments, in October.
The Braves, obviously with little motivation to push their All-Star during the exhibition season, will rest Freeman the remainder of the week.
“We consulted with Dr. Altchek today. We’re not concerned at all,” Anthopoulos said. “We’re just going to give him a little rest, and we should get him back in the lineup sometime next week.”
Freeman was unavailable for comment because he was undergoing treatment during Wednesday morning’s media availability at CoolToday Park in North Port. The Braves faced the Orioles in Sarasota later that afternoon.
The 30-year-old played in the team’s first two spring games, which was a necessary step to see how the elbow would react to ramped-up activity. His elbow flaring up under such circumstances was considered natural, according to Dr. Altchek, and simply requires rest to calm down.
“Not concerned,” Anthopoulos said. “Just give it a little time to rest, and he’ll be back in the lineup playing. If you asked Freddie today, he’d think he’s going to play tomorrow. Instead, look, let’s talk to Dr. Altchek and make sure. We’re sitting here in February. We don’t need to rush this thing at all. But if you asked him, he’d say he’s ready to play tomorrow. He did say that to me.”
Braves fans might cringe at Freeman’s suggestion of jumping right back into the fray. The sentiment sounds familiar to last season, when Freeman persisted through pain but struggled to end the season. He took off four days (two games) in the final week of the regular season and returned to play in the final three contests in New York.
Freeman went 4-for-20 in the ensuing National League Division Series, when the Braves were eliminated against the Cardinals in five games. Freeman was informed that had the Braves advanced, his season still would’ve soon ended when a cracked spur would’ve become fully broken.
It’s paramount the Braves keep Freeman healthy. The team is in win-now mode, gunning for a World Series title after back-to-back postseason berths. First, the Braves will navigate the uber-competitive NL East, where the rival Nationals, Mets and Phillies have similar aspirations.
To reach baseball’s pinnacle, they’ll need Freeman at full-go.
“We’re always going to be cautious,” Anthopoulos said. “We’re going to make sure he’s communicating with us, he knows that too. Like anything else, we’re going to continue consulting with the doctors. If the doctors aren’t concerned, we’re not.”
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