Braves general manager Frank Wren isn’t tipping his hand on when and if the Braves will call up first base prospect Freddie Freeman, answering a direct question about it with “I don’t know.”
But he made this much clear on Saturday: the Braves wouldn’t wait until the Triple-A season is over to do it.
Freeman has been scalding the ball in Triple-A Gwinnett, hitting .427 (41-for-96) for the month of August, with four home runs and 24 RBIs in 25 games through Friday. He seems poised for his first major league call-up when rosters expand on Sept. 1.
The only real question appeared to be if the Braves might wait until Gwinnett’s season is over on Sept. 6 before calling Freeman up, so he could play every day until then. Based on what Wren said Saturday, the Braves won’t wait that late for any of the call-ups, most likely bringing them all up in one group.
“We want to be at full strength as soon as we can,” Wren said. “Every game is important. You never know when a game could hinge on a player you want to bring up.”
Wren also said as long as a player is in the Braves organization as of Aug. 31, he is eligible for the postseason roster as a replacement for an injured player. It used to be that players had to be on the active roster by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the postseason. But now it’s not even required that they be on the 40-man, Wren said. (Freeman is not yet on the 40-man roster.)
Among other players expected to be in the mix of call-ups are center fielder Nate McLouth, right-hander Kenshin Kawakami (as a reliever), reliever Mike Dunn, and a third catcher – Clint Sammons or J.C. Boscan. Troy Glaus is in Gwinnett on a rehabilitation assignment and is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday.
Reliever Craig Kimbrel got called up on Friday to give the Braves an extra arm in the bullpen until Mike Minor starts on Tuesday against the Mets. When Minor is reactivated, Kimbrel would have to return to the minors and stay until the end of Gwinnett’s season before he could return.