Freeman leaves game after being hit in hand by pitch

Credit: John Bazemore

Credit: John Bazemore

Braves slugger Freddie Freeman left Wednesday night’s game against Toronto with a potentially serious injury after being hit by a pitch in the left hand in the fifth inning.

X-rays taken at SunTrust Park were inconclusive and Freeman will have further tests Thursday including an MRI and CT scan to determine the severity of the injury. The Braves weren’t in any mood to celebrate an 8-4 win and only hoped to hear Thursday that it’s not a broken bone that could sideline their star player for a significant period.

“That’s the No. 1 thing,” Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki said of concern over Freeman’s condition overriding any satisfaction from the game. “Obviously a win’s a win, we’ll take it, but we’re looking at the big picture here. Your best player goes down, gets hit in kind of a freak spot – you’re just kind of hoping for the best.”

Freeman was hit on a bone on the inside of his left hand, below the palm and just above the wrist, by lefty reliever Aaron Loup. One of baseball’s best two or three hitters so far this season, Freeman was attended to by trainer Jim Lovell briefly on the field before they walked to the dugout and up the hallway to an examination room adjacent to the home clubhouse at SunTrust Park.

“When the best hitter in the game goes out and he’s on our team, it really sucks,” said Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, who pitched six innings for the win.

Braves manager Brian Snitker was asked if there was hope that the injury might not be a break or other serious issue.

“It’s inconclusive right now. That’s why they want to do more tests tomorrow,” he said. “So, yeah, there’s a hope that he’ll be OK – well, he’s not going to be OK; he’s going to be sore. But like I said, we’ll know more tomorrow.”

Freeman entered Wednesday leading the National League in home runs (14) and ranked second in on-base percentage (.457), third in slugging percentage (.754), fifth in walks (26) and sixth in batting average (.343).

It was the seventh time that Braves hitters had been hit by pitches in the past three games against the Blue Jays, including five times in Monday’s game at Toronto. But the sight of one of the majors’ best hitters walking off the field was about the last thing the Braves wanted to see, especially given the hand injuries that slowed Freeman in past seasons.

The injured area was on the inside of the hand on or just above the wrist, not the outside of the wrist in the area where Freeman sustained injuries that required two stints on the disabled list in 2015. Those injuries were to his right wrist.