The Braves got good news on Freddie Freeman’s left thumb when an MRI exam Wednesday showed a sprain and contusion but no serious injury to the ligament.
Freeman hurt the thumb Monday during an Arizona Fall League game. The initial diagnosis was a sprain, but X-rays taken Tuesday were inconclusive and the Braves scheduled an MRI on Wednesday in Phoenix to rule out any major injury.
General manager Frank Wren said Freeman would miss at least a week while the swelling subsides.
The slugger was hurt sliding into third base on a triple for the Phoenix Desert Dogs. Through five AFL games, Freeman was 2-for-16 (.125) with a double, a triple and one RBI.
The Braves are planning on the left-handed slugger to be their regular first baseman in 2011. Freeman hit .319 with 35 doubles, 18 home runs and 87 RBIs in 124 games during the 2010 season for Triple-A Gwinnett, and posted a robust .898 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
The International League rookie of the year, Freeman got his first major league callup in September and went 4-for-24 (.167) with a double and a homer in 20 games for Atlanta. His homer was a mammoth shot off Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay.
Wren said last week that the at-bats Freeman could get in the six-week, prospect-laden fall league would help prepare him for next season.
“I think for a hitter, especially, you can’t simulate at-bats,” Wren said last week. “You get better by playing games, by having at-bats in competition. And so, going to Arizona and getting another six weeks of game time is just going to make him that much better. I don’t think we’d want him to go to for three months; that’s why we didn’t want him to go to winter ball, per se, because we do want him to have some down time.
“We want him to have a chance to get stronger and get away from baseball a little bit, and get ready and primed for next season. Because he’s a guy we think we can count on. Six weeks of at-bats in the Arizona Fall League is perfect.”