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Freeman eyes return before All-Star break

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman's accelerated return from a fractured left wrist had another positive development Friday when he was cleared to begin taking dry swings. If everything continues to go accordingly, Freeman will return to Atlanta's lineup before the All-Star break as a third baseman.

"Everybody has been saying I wouldn't be back for 8-10 weeks," Freeman said. "Obviously, I had a different mindset going into it. We're just a little over five weeks right now, so I'm pretty ecstatic about how the recovery has gone."

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ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman's accelerated return from a fractured left wrist had another positive development Friday when he was cleared to begin taking dry swings. If everything continues to go accordingly, Freeman will return to Atlanta's lineup before the All-Star break as a third baseman.

"Everybody has been saying I wouldn't be back for 8-10 weeks," Freeman said. "Obviously, I had a different mindset going into it. We're just a little over five weeks right now, so I'm pretty ecstatic about how the recovery has gone."

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When Freeman's wrist was fractured by a pitch during a May 17 game against the Blue Jays, it appeared he would not return until the end of July. But the two-time All-Star has exceeded expectations throughout his recovery process.

Video: TOR@ATL: Freeman leaves game after hit by pitch

As he met with Dr. Gary Lourie on Friday afternoon, Freeman learned his fracture was 80-90 percent healed, up from 50 percent just a week ago. The impact area has not completely healed, and weeks of inactivity have created some ligament discomfort. But there has been enough progress for the 27-year-old veteran to optimistically aim to return as the Braves visit Nationals Park from July 6-10.

"They're all pretty shocked it got to that point [of recovery], especially with me stressing it the past couple days by catching balls and all of that stuff," Freeman said. "It's actually great news."

Freeman has spent the past few days taking ground balls and making numerous throws while acquainting himself to third base, the position he has chosen to transition to in order to allow Matt Adams to remain in the lineup as Atlanta's first baseman.

Video: Freeman discusses taking grounders at third base

"I feel comfortable. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you I feel like I do at first base," Freeman said. "Obviously, I don't. I'm not going to sugarcoat it, but I don't feel out of place. I feel good over there. I just have to get my shoulder in shape."

As the next few days elapse, Freeman will gain a better sense of when he could begin a Minor League rehab assignment. He will accompany the Braves when they travel to San Diego on Sunday. If the wrist continues responding favorably, he could begin the assignment as early as the following weekend.

Though he is making the transition from first base to third base -- a position he hasn't played for more than a decade -- Freeman thinks he might need to play just three or four rehab games before being activated.

"We're headed in the right direction," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He'll keep working out defensively. The reports there are he's looking better and better every day [as a third baseman]. He's pretty excited about it."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Freddie Freeman