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Thumbs up? Freeman hopeful of weekend return

As injury improves, Braves first baseman soaks up All-Star experience

NEW YORK -- As Freddie Freeman sat inside the National League clubhouse a few hours before Tuesday night's All-Star Game at Citi Field, he remained disappointed by the fact that a jammed left thumb would prevent him from playing in his first Midsummer Classic.

But while gaining increased mobility in his thumb the past two days, Freeman has grown more confident that he could return to the Braves' lineup during this weekend's series against the White Sox in Chicago.

"It's still a little tight inside, but it feels great," Freeman said while wearing a black brace that has stabilized the thumb since he jammed it while tagging Cincinnati's Chris Heisey during the first inning of Saturday's game at Turner Field.

Freeman will visit Dr. Gary Lourie in Atlanta on Thursday with the hope that he will be cleared to begin playing again by Friday. But the 23-year-old first baseman said he has prepared himself for the possibility that the Braves could keep him out of action at least an extra day or two.

When Freeman returns to Atlanta, he will be savoring the memories he has gained while spending the past couple of days interacting with the other NL All-Stars and his father, Fred, who traveled from California to New York to share this special experience with his son.

The Freemans were together on the field during Monday night's Chevrolet Home Run Derby and again on Tuesday afternoon when the All-Stars were paraded through the streets of Manhattan during the All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet.

"Getting hurt and not being able to play [stinks], but just being able to experience this, it's been an amazing couple of days," Freeman said. "Being able to experience all these fans and be with all these great players, this is something I'll be able to tell my kids and grandkids about."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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