The Atlanta Braves got one of their best hitters back on Tuesday. Instead of playing his normal position however, Freddie Freeman made his first career start at third base.
Freeman, 27, was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday. The slugging first baseman has been out since May due to a broken wrist. Freeman was hit by a pitch during the Braves game against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 17. He was diagnosed with a fractured left wrist, and was expected to miss at least eight weeks.
Fortunately, Freeman was able to recover quicker than expected. Because it appeared as though he was going to be sidelined for a minimum of eight weeks, the Braves decided to acquire another first baseman. On May 20, they traded minor league infielder Juan Yepez to the St. Louis Cardinals for first baseman Matt Adams and cash considerations. At the time of the deal, the left-handed hitting Adams was hitting .292 with one home run and seven RBIs on the season.
Adams was able to have immediate success with the Braves. He more than adequately filled the hole left by Freeman’s absence. In 40 games for the Braves, he is batting .290 with 12 home runs and 32 RBIs. Adams hit .314 in the month of June.
When it came time for Freeman to begin his rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett, he offered to play third base instead of first base. The reasoning behind this offer was that Adams was playing so well, and it would benefit the Braves to keep him in the lineup. On Saturday night, Freeman started at third base as the Gwinnett Braves visited the Charlotte Knights. He fielded his new position relatively well. The Braves saw enough to be convinced that Freeman could play third base at the major league level.
When the Braves took the field against the Houston Astros on Tuesday night, Freeman was at third base. He did not make any errors in the game, and went 1-for-4 at the plate. The Braves lost the game 16-4.
Before his injury, Freeman was having a great season. In 135 at-bats, he was hitting .341 with 14 home runs and 25 RBIs. This is why it was such a relief for the Braves when he said that he would voluntarily move to third base. This way, the team can now have both Freeman and Adams in the lineup.
The Braves are 40-42 this season. They have already exceeded expectations this year. Now that they have two left-handed hitting power threats in Freeman and Adams, their offense has the potential to be great.