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Freeman, Olivera set to begin rehab stints

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart told reporters Wednesday that Freddie Freeman and Hector Olivera will begin rehab assignments with the club's Orlando Gulf Coast League affiliate on Thursday.

The plan is to have Freeman, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 4 after suffering a strained oblique against the Giants, play five innings in his first game and increase his workload from there.

"It's encouraging what he's been able to do on his rehab. I think there's a good chance we get him back on the 19th [of August]," said Hart of his two-time All-Star, who has batted .284 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs in 76 games this season.

"Right now, he's made really good progress so we're going to get him in rehab games starting [Thursday] right up through the 18th and see where it goes."

When asked if there was a chance that Freeman returned to action too quickly from the wrist injury that sidelined him in June, possibly contributing to his subsequent oblique strain, Hart didn't mince words.

"It's absolutely possible," Hart said. "Freddie is not used to sitting around. He wanted to play. Hindsight is always the best view, and maybe he did come back a little bit too early.

"Two totally different injuries though," he continued. "There are guys that are out there playing all the time that end up tearing up those obliques. It's become a more common injury than you like to see. The good news here is that we got this early, and I think this is something we'll be able to manage."

Olivera, who hasn't played since injuring his hamstring in Triple-A in June while still a member of the Dodgers' organization, will play two or three days in the GCL according to Hart, and he'll be moved up through the system from there.

"Get his legs under him a little bit, and we're satisfied that the hamstring is not an issue -- with the idea that we'll bring him to Atlanta at some point."

Hart feels that Olivera could make his Major League debut in two weeks, barring any setbacks.

"If he needs longer, then we'll give him longer, but I don't think it will be any earlier than five or seven games out," said Hart.

Michael Kolligian is a contributor to
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