Freddie Freeman’s thumb injury will keep the Braves first-base prospect out for the remainder of the Arizona Fall League.
After Braves hand specialist Dr. Gary Lourie examined his sprained left thumb on Monday in Atlanta, the decision was made to pull Freeman from the fall league and have him return home to California to rest.
Freeman, injured while sliding into third base in an Oct. 18 game, will wear a splint for the next couple of weeks and return to Atlanta in about three weeks to begin rehabilitation.
An MRI last week showed no major ligament damage, and surgery was not necessary. However, any thumb sprain can linger for an extended period if not given time to heal.
Rather than having Freeman try to return for the final weeks of the AFL, which runs through Nov. 20, the Braves will have him aim for what they believe should be a full recovery before spring training begins in February.
The Braves are planning on the left-handed slugger to be their starting 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.
He played only five AFL games before the injury. Freeman was 2-for-16 (.125) with a double, a triple and one RBI for the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
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 tape-measure shot off Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay.