Freeman, Braves appreciate Floyd’s reaction Sunday

The Braves already had a healthy respect working for new teammate Gavin Floyd and the way he’s pitched in his return from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. That respect grew a little more in St. Louis on Sunday, when Floyd hit Jaime Garcia with a pitch in apparent retaliation on behalf of his teammate Freddie Freeman.

Garcia had plunked Freeman in the back, following a home run by Justin Upton in the top of the inning.

“I think what Gavin did got us going,” said Freeman, referring to the Braves’ 6-5 win after a ninth inning rally. “I don’t know what his intentions were, but it fired me up to know that someone has your back. I’ll take the field behind that guy any day.”

Freeman, not someone who minds sharing his emotions, said he told Floyd he loved him. “When someone does that for you it kind of fires you up,” said Freeman, smiling.

Floyd’s retaliation also took a little sting out of the pain Freeman had to deal for the remainder of the game. Garcia apparently struck a nerve both literally and figuratively. Freeman got hit in the back by the pitch but he felt radiant numbness in his right arm.

“I was running to first base and all of a sudden my triceps and my elbow started to go numb, so it obviously hit some nerves in the back,” Freeman said. “You know it got you pretty good when you get hit in the back and your elbow starts to hurt.”

Freeman said it progressively got worse, to the point where he could only throw underhanded.

“I couldn’t lift my arm above my head,” Freeman said. “I told Gavin if any bunts come my way, please try and get it because I can’t throw. Then in the ninth inning I caught a pop-up from Jhonny Peralta and there was a guy on second base and Andrelton (Simmons) came and met me halfway because I just couldn’t throw. I was under-handing everything. … I told Peter Bourjos ‘Please don’t steal right now, I can’t really throw to second base’ and luckily he didn’t.”

Freeman said he would have tried if Bourjos had taken off, but by Monday he didn’t have to worry. After ice and treatment, Freeman said his arm felt good, and he could raise it over his head. Freeman said Braves trainers had assured him Sunday afternoon the numbness wasn’t serious.

Freeman made his 43rd start in 43 games this season Monday night.

“I don’t like days off,” Freeman said. “That’s my job so I want to be out there every day.”