ATLANTA -- It did not take Freddie Freeman long to remind Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez that it will not be easy for him to follow through with his plan to provide his valuable first baseman some occasional opportunities to rest during the course of the season.Freeman further quieted concerns about
ATLANTA -- It did not take Freddie Freeman long to remind Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez that it will not be easy for him to follow through with his plan to provide his valuable first baseman some occasional opportunities to rest during the course of the season.
Freeman further quieted concerns about his previously-injured right wrist and also seemed unbothered by the unfamiliarity he had with Max Scherzer before homering in his first career plate appearance against the heralded right-hander during the first inning of Monday's 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Nationals at Turner Field.
"You always want to get the first hit out of the way, and for it to come that way, it's pretty cool," Freeman said. "But after you play a great ballgame for eight innings and then kind of let that one get away, it's a tough one to swallow."
Freeman had never even faced Scherzer in a Spring Training game before he drilled the first-inning solo shot over the center-field fence to erase the 1-0 lead the Nationals had gained courtesy of Bryce Harper's solo homer in the top half of the inning off Julio Teheran.
After spending the past few weeks proving he is no longer bothered by the right wrist ailment that derailed him most of last season's final four months, Freeman experienced a brief scare when he was hit on the left elbow by a Felipe Rivero pitch in the eighth inning.
Freeman showed no signs of discomfort after the game and vowed to be back in the lineup again on Wednesday night, when the Braves and Nationals conclude their two-game series.
Before Monday's game, Freeman was asked what he thought about Gonzalez's plan to occasionally rest him during the season. He responded by making it clear that he wants to get back to the daily action he experienced while playing in a Major League high 243 consecutive games before the wrist injury sidelined him last year.
"He can ask all he wants, I'm not coming out," Freeman said. "He's going to have to force me out of the lineup, because my goal every year is to play  games."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.