Now dad of twins, Freeman arriving soon

February 22nd, 2021

Instead of being present for the Braves’ first full squad workout on Tuesday, Freddie Freeman will be tending to his new duties as a father.  

Freeman actually isn’t expected to be in camp until the end of the week. His wife, Chelsea, announced the arrival of the couple’s two new sons on Sunday.

“It’s not a big deal at all,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “As you guys remember, he usually gets hot for the first 10 days of [the Grapefruit League season] and then gets bored for 10 days and then gets back going. I don’t worry about that at all. He doesn’t need to be here. I’m glad he’s doing what he’s doing now.”

Once Freeman arrives in Florida, he will need to complete intake COVID-19 testing and then go through the same short quarantine his teammates have experienced over the past week.

Even if Freeman doesn’t play during the first week of the Grapefruit League season, which begins Sunday, he still would have a little more than three weeks to prepare for Opening Day. That’s much better than the five days he gave himself to prepare for Opening Day after battling COVID-19 last summer.

New OF candidate

The Braves added another bench candidate when they claimed outfielder Phil Ervin off waivers from the Cubs on Monday.

Erwin showed some promise when he hit .271 with a .797 OPS for the Reds in 2019. But he declined over the final two months of that season and combined to produce a .481 OPS over 89 plate appearances with the Reds and Mariners last year.

Instead of just assuming Cristian Pache will prove he is ready to be the everyday center fielder, the Braves are building some insurance. If it’s determined Pache needs more time, the Braves could give the job to Ender Inciarte or opt to move Ronald Acuña Jr. to center field.

Ervin and Abraham Almonte join Acuña , Marcell Ozuna, Inciarte and Pache as the only outfielders on the 40-man roster. The group of non-roster outfielders consists of prospects who are likely not ready for the Majors.

Talented roommates

Though they have never played together, Mike Soroka and Ian Anderson have formed a strong friendship over the past few years. The two talented young pitchers roomed together during Spring Training and are doing so again this year.

“We’re into Peaky Blinders lately,” Anderson said in reference to the popular Netflix series. “That’s kind of been our binge watch. I’ve been cooking a lot of meals. So, it’s been good so far.”

Soroka produced one of the best rookie seasons in franchise history in 2019, when he posted a 2.68 ERA (173 ERA+) and won his only career playoff start. After Soroka suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon last year, the Braves received significant value from Anderson, who limited the Yankees to one hit and one run over six innings in his Aug. 26 MLB debut.

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Anderson posted a 1.95 ERA over six regular-season starts and didn’t allow a run through the first 17 2/3 innings of his postseason career.

“We have some great conversations,” Anderson said. “We’re kind of on similar wavelengths on a lot of things. It’s definitely good to talk to him.”