Just 12 days after leaving Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Braves slugger Freddie Freeman will return Wednesday to begin rehabbing a right oblique strain at the club’s minor league facility.
If Freeman, who went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, can return after 15 days as he did with the same injury in 2013, he could join the team Aug. 21 in Chicago. The Braves won’t know Freeman’s timetable for at least a few days.
“Right now, it’s the whole side (that hurts),” manager Fredi Gonzalez said Tuesday. “And in the next three or four days, it’ll start pinpointing (the pain) exactly. It kind of starts settling down a little bit and you can pinpoint it exactly and then you can treat that area better.”
Freeman was sidelined for almost six weeks by a right wrist injury before returning July 25. He played in 10 games before injuring his oblique on third-inning swing Monday against the Giants. He went 7-for-38 (.184) with two homers, four RBIs and six strikeouts in those 10 games.
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons remained out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game Wednesday with a bone bruise in his right thumb.
He again threw and fielded ground balls on Wednesday, but coaches still haven’t let him hit.
“Yesterday was good,” Gonzalez said Wednesday. “The only issue he told (trainer Jeff Porter) was that when he went to dig in for the ball in the glove, he kind of still felt it a little bit. Other than that, he’s making a lot of progress.”
Gonzalez said he’s hopeful Simmons will suit up by the end of the week.
Daniel Castro, called up from Triple-A to fill in at shortstop, went into Wednesday game 5-for-13 (.385) with a double and two runs scored.
“He’s a guy that you appreciate,” Gonzalez said. “The more you see him play, you appreciate him. And he’s got great feet around the bag, second base. He’s got short hands. He’s a guy, the more you watch him play, the better you appreciate him.”
Chris Johnson started at first base Tuesday and, after the Kelly Johnson’s trade, he’ll likely stay there for the bulk of Freeman’s recovery.
He went 2-for-4 with a homer after Freeman left in the fifth inning of Atlanta’s 12-inning 9-8 win Monday.
He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Tuesday. His mental gaffe in the field — he lost track of Giants’ outs — also cost starter Shelby Miller a run in the sixth inning of their 8-3 loss.
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