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Freeman among Braves aiming to rebound in '16

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- As the Braves approach Spring Training with an improved bullpen and the hope that some of their young starters are ready to take a step forward, they understand the health of Freddie Freeman's wrist will significantly influence how successful this season proves to be.

Freeman stands as the focus of "On The Rebound," the first of five Spring Training preview stories that will appear on braves.com over the next week. Atlanta's pitchers and catchers are required to report to camp by Feb. 19.

ATLANTA -- As the Braves approach Spring Training with an improved bullpen and the hope that some of their young starters are ready to take a step forward, they understand the health of Freddie Freeman's wrist will significantly influence how successful this season proves to be.

Freeman stands as the focus of "On The Rebound," the first of five Spring Training preview stories that will appear on braves.com over the next week. Atlanta's pitchers and catchers are required to report to camp by Feb. 19.

Here's a look at Freeman and the other Braves who are looking to rebound from injury or a tough 2015 season.

• Spring Training information

1B Freeman: Though Freeman has been encouraged by how his wrist has reacted to some recent batting practice sessions, he will not get a true feel until he starts facing live pitching on a daily basis. When Freeman's wrist began bothering him on June 13, he had 12 homers and a .914 OPS. No other Braves player hit more than 10 homers all of last year. So it goes without saying that a successful rebound performance from this young first baseman could go a long way toward preventing the Braves from scoring the fewest runs in the Majors for a second straight season.

Video: Outlook: Freeman should hit for high average, power

RHP Jason Grilli: He has overcome numerous obstacles and injuries throughout his career. But Grilli is facing a significant challenge as he attempts to return from a ruptured Achilles at the age of 39. The veteran reliever proved effective as Atlanta's closer until he sustained the injury on July 11. While Grilli will certainly be aiming to regain that role, he will first have to prove how healthy and effective he might be this season.

RHP Bud Norris: He pitched effectively enough to gain two playoff starts for the Orioles in 2014. But Norris was released after producing a 6.79 ERA over 11 starts with Baltimore last season. The Braves are hoping the veteran right-hander provides some consistency at least until they are ready to give some of their pitching prospects a rotation spot.

RHP Jim Johnson: After acquiring Johnson with the hope that he would serve as a dependable setup man, the Dodgers did not even keep the veteran reliever around to sit on the bench during the postseason. Johnson rejuvenated his career when he produced a 2.25 ERA in 49 appearances with the Braves. But he did not find similar comfort or success after being traded to the Dodgers in July. Johnson allowed a run in 10 of the 23 appearances he made for Los Angeles.

INF Gordon Beckham: Much of the success Cameron Maybin had in 2015 has been attributed to the comfort he gained while playing in front of friends and family members who frequently made the short drive to Atlanta. Now, Beckham is another former first-round Draft pick who is hoping to experience something similar. The 29-year-old Atlanta native produced a career-worst .607 OPS while totaling just 237 plate appearances for the White Sox last season. He is slated to platoon with Jace Peterson at second base. But Beckham's dependable glove could provide some value at each infield position.

Video: Pierzynski on helping new players, meeting Beckham

SS Erick Aybar: He will be feeling some pressure that extends beyond the fact that he's provided the daunting challenge to attempt to making Braves fans forget that Andrelton Simmons is no longer their shortstop. Aybar, a 32-year-old former All-Star, is entering the final year of his contract and is coming off a disappointing season in which he produced a .639 OPS -- third worst among all qualified shortstops.

C Tyler Flowers: He ranked as MLB's top catcher in terms of pitch framing last season. But the Atlanta native also was charged with a career-high 15 passed balls while catching 110 games for the White Sox. This is a homecoming for Flowers, who was in the Braves' farm system prior to being traded to Chicago before the 2009 season. He will share the catching duties with his former White Sox teammate A.J. Pierzynski.

RHP David Carpenter: He established himself as one of Atlanta's top relievers in 2013 and had some more success while working out of the Braves' bullpen in '14. But Carpenter struggled after being traded last year to the Yankees, who released him after just two months. The veteran reliever signed with the Nationals, but he made just eight more appearances before being shut down by biceps tendinitis. Carpenter said the offseason provided him a chance to get healthy and regain his arm strength.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Atlanta Braves