Freeman limited to work off the bench
Wrist prevents first baseman from starting remainder of the season
ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman's competitive nature will not allow him to enter complete shutdown mode. But the right wrist discomfort he experienced during Tuesday's win over the Nationals was significant enough for him to accept the likelihood he will not be in the Braves' lineup for the remainder of this season.
"It's just one of those things that unfortunately got a little worse," Freeman said. "So, the plan is different than the one we had a couple days ago."
After Monday's visit with Dr. Gary Lourie provided Freeman confidence he could not do any further damage to his right wrist that has proved problematic dating back to June, the plan was for him to start two consecutive games and then take a day off over the remainder of the season. But this plan was scrapped when the discomfort steadily increased as he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Tuesday.
To prevent him from compiling multiple at-bats during any of this season's final five games, Freeman will likely be restricted to duties as a pinch-hitter or late-inning defensive replacement.
"I just want to know what's really causing it," Freeman said. "There is the thought of should I just shut it down? I'd just go stir crazy for [five] days. I know I can get through one [at-bat]. That's what the plan is going to be. Once the season gets done, I'll definitely get it figured out after it calms down for a couple days."
Freeman will likely undergo another MRI exam late next week to determine why he has continued to experience discomfort there after being diagnosed with a right wrist sprain and bone bruise. The injury sidelined him from June 18-July 24. Ten days after returning to action, he suffered an oblique strain that sidelined him for another three weeks.
Much of Freeman's frustration is centered around the fact that his wrist was fine for the first three weeks that followed his second stint on the disabled list. But as the past few weeks have elapsed, he has battled discomfort, which has steadily increased over the course of a game and then usually returned to a tolerable level by the next morning.
"For some reason, as [Tuesday's] game went on it got increasingly worse," Freeman said. "But when I woke up today, it's back to the starting point again. That's a good positive sign."
While Freeman is hoping the further evaluation he undergoes next week will provide some more definitive answers, he remains hopeful that the most effective remedy will simply be some extended rest during the offseason.
"The main goal is to avoid surgery at all costs because I don't want to waste the whole offseason just trying to rehab a wrist," Freeman said.