Freeman confident after testing wrist, hand

March 13th, 2016

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Two days after causing the Braves to fear for the worst, Freddie Freeman returned to action and in the process took advantage of an opportunity to further alleviate any lingering concerns he has about the durability of his previously-injured right wrist.

Braves fans breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday, when Freeman revealed that his precautionary early exit from Friday's game against the Phillies was a product of right hand discomfort that was not directly related to last year's frustrating wrist ailment. The veteran first baseman provided some more relief on Sunday, when he showed no hesitation with either of the swings he took during a 7-6 loss to the Astros.

"I felt good with the swings I did take," Freeman said. "I think I swung the bat twice today and it didn't hurt either of those times."

Freeman was frozen by Doug Fister's two-seamer as he looked at a called third strike to conclude each of Sunday's first two plate appearances. But when he swung the bat during his third and final plate appearance, he showed absolutely no hesitation as he took one of his normal violent rips and nearly homered off left-handed reliever Neal Cotts for the second time in five days.

Though his long fourth-inning drive off Cotts was caught near the top of the center-field wall by Carlos Gomez, Freeman walked away from the plate appearance with some enhanced confidence.

"The more I swing, the more I feel comfortable," Freeman said. "It's just more reps. The more batting practice and swings that I take, that's just going to ease my mind."

When Freeman exited Friday's game, there was immediate reaction that he had aggravated the wrist injury that limited him for last season's final four months and throughout this past offseason. But it has since been learned the discomfort was located in his hand and that it was likely a product of scar tissue that developed after he received multiple cortisone injections last year.

Freeman plans to compile four plate appearances during Monday's home game against the Rays. He will rest on Tuesday and then attempt to play in each of the home games scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"It was the wrist last year and that's the big part because I'm very violent with my wrist with my follow through," Freeman said. "I knew right away [Friday's discomfort] wasn't my wrist. Talking the past couple days, I think it was just some scar tissue that will get worked out because I've had a lot of needles in my hand and wrist over the past [nine] months. Once we get that all broken up, I don't think we'll have to worry about this any more."

Odds and ends:

• Matt Wisler had a chance to dig a little deeper into his repertoire as he threw 50 pitches while limiting the Astros to one run over 2 2/3 innings on Sunday. Unlike when he needed to throw just 17 pitches to complete two scoreless innings during last week's Grapefruit League debut against the Mets, Wisler took advantage of a chance to get a feel for his changeup, which was refined with Tom Glavine's assistance this past winter.

"I kept [the changeup] down," Wisler said. "I got a swing and a miss against the lefty [Marwin Gonzalez] and I threw a couple other good ones that were just right off the plate. I need to get it a little more on the plate. But overall, the changeup felt pretty good today. That's a big stride for me."

• After reliever Chris Withrow surrendered a hit, issued two walks and uncorked a wild pitch while recording just one out in Sunday's fourth inning, Jose Ramirez entered with the bases loaded and recorded consecutive strikeouts against Jose Altuve and George Springer. Ramirez is a hard-throwing right-hander who is the only player in Braves' camp who is out of options. He has recorded five strikeouts and issued three walks over five scoreless innings.

• Defensive blunders have helped account for two of Mallex Smith's three triples, including the one he was awarded on Sunday after former Braves outfielder Eury Perez dropped the ball as he crashed into the center-field wall. But Smith has still opened some eyes as he has hit .320 (8-for-25) and totaled seven extra-base hits (three doubles, three triples and a home run).