Braves set for Grapefruit opener; Freeman recovering quickly

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When the Braves open the Grapefruit League schedule Saturday against Detroit,  they’ll start all projected lineup regulars except injured first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Eric Hinske will play first base and Matt Diaz will be the designated hitter for the Braves, who have rookie Tyler Pastornicky making his debut as their new starting shortstop.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez trimmed Friday’s workout by dropping the regular conditioning segment at the end.

“I cut the guys loose a little early today, because they’re ready to go,” he said. “They’ve been working hard, and we gave them a little breather so they’d be refreshed tomorrow.”

Braves left-hander Mike Minor will face Tigers right-hander Doug Fister. Gonzalez declined to name any of his planned relievers for Saturday.

The Braves will have an outfield of Martin Prado in left, Michael Bourn in center and Jason Heyward in right. The infield has second baseman Dan Uggla and third baseman Chipper Jones with Pastornicky and Hinske.

“Practice has been good,” catcher Brian McCann said. “But it’s time to play.”

Gonzalez plans to get two at-bats for most of his regulars and two innings from Minor before making substitutions.

The game will be carried on 680 AM and 93.7 FM in Atlanta, and former Braves great Dale Murphy is set to join Jim Powell in the radio booth. Murphy begins a 15-day stint as guest coach in Braves camp.

There is no scheduled television broadcast — including no — for any Braves game until a March 9 split-squad game vs. the Yankees on MLB Network.

Freeman recovering quickly

Three days after hurting his knee, Freeman did some jogging Friday and said he could be back in the lineup in a few days. He walked two laps and jogged another around a backfield at the Braves’ spring-training complex.

Gonzalez was  encouraged to see Freeman not favoring the right leg. He won’t let the first baseman talk his way into the lineup this weekend, but said he could be ready to play early next week.

Freeman could be cleared to hit in the batting cage as soon as Saturday.

He diagnosed with a subluxation of his right patella after his kneecap briefly popped out of place when he reached for a low throw on Tuesday.

It’s the second time he’s had the same injury in two years, and Freeman said he will wear a knee brace in workouts and games for the rest of his career.

He was only supposed to walk around the perimeter of the field Friday, but Freeman said he couldn’t resist pushing it a bit more.

“I felt good so I started jogging,” he said, smiling. “Bubba [head trainer Jeff Porter] wasn’t out there so he couldn’t stop me. I checked to make sure he wasn’t.”

35 comments Add your comment


March 2nd, 2012
6:56 pm


March 2nd, 2012
6:56 pm


March 2nd, 2012
6:56 pm

but i wanted to be


March 2nd, 2012
6:57 pm

first ever first for me


March 2nd, 2012
6:59 pm

good job, ladies


March 2nd, 2012
7:22 pm

DOB, can you pay to go to the game at Disney but go to the backfield’s and watch some other workout’s? Been down here a couple of years and have not yet figured that part out. Go Braves!


March 2nd, 2012
8:12 pm

Mark (another one)

March 2nd, 2012
8:13 pm

If Freeman wasn’t supposed to be running, he shouldn’t push it. I’d rather he misses a couple of extra spring games than suffers a setback.

David O'Brien

March 2nd, 2012
8:48 pm

DOB, can you pay to go to the game at Disney but go to the backfield’s and watch some other workout’s? Been down here a couple of years and have not yet figured that part out. OrlandBraveFan

Yes, once you pay the $15.50 to get in Wide World Of Sports, you can walk around the grounds, long as there’s not a separate admission for some tournament or another. But for workouts, no admission other than the $15.50 to get onto the grounds initially (or the ticket price if you’re going to a Braves game).


March 2nd, 2012
9:53 pm

DOB, I hate to bring up bad topics – but how is Jeff Porter doing, given everything that he’s been through recently? Thoughts and prayers still go to him and his family…


March 2nd, 2012
11:01 pm

what time will it be on 680?

David O'Brien

March 2nd, 2012
11:45 pm

DOB, I hate to bring up bad topics – but how is Jeff Porter doing, given everything that he’s been through recently? — JNick

He’s at spring training doing his job as he’s done every year. Beyond that, I really don’t know how to answer the question without being presumptious or insensitive. No outward signs of anything. He’s as professional and thorough as ever, and as cordial as ever. I can only imagine that he and his son are dealing with this most difficult and private of matters in a way that allows them to continue to get along in life. He’s here and my interactions with him are as they have always been. He’s a good man.


March 3rd, 2012
12:22 am

Hey Dave, just saw Varitek’s retirement speech. Pretty emotional. I took a public speaking class with Jason at Tech. Will miss following him. Thought about Chipper and that he has been with the Braves like 10 years longer than any other current player. The Braves should put a “C” on his chest and make him captain this year. He’s due it and it would likely mean the world to him. Who else has been “captain” of the Braves and what do you think of this idea?


March 3rd, 2012
1:59 am

Sorry if this seems a bit off topic but how do i get 680 the fan through my laptop for free and be an hour early for the braves vs tigers game on my laptop so i can listen to marph and jim powell? i know the game starts at 1:05 pm but i want to know if a link will be posted or if 680 the fan will put the mlb tab back up there. I want to listen to them since i can’t watch them yet.


March 3rd, 2012
6:34 am

matt you can go to google type in 680 the fan and link will be there

El Bravo

March 3rd, 2012
8:05 am

Play Ball! DOB, any good, hall-in-the-wall joints to grab a bite around the Disney area. I never seem to find a good spot amid the overpriced chains, tourist traps and mediocre fare…

Braves Fan for 55 yrs

March 3rd, 2012
8:10 am

please tell me we do NOT have to put up with Chip Caray this year on TV.

Russ Nixon

March 3rd, 2012
10:17 am

Best thing about this story is the comment from Freddie, Bubba was not out there….that means that Jeff Porter was on the field and at work. Jeff, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you. One tough hombre to get back to work, but I know you would not have it any other way….


March 3rd, 2012
10:18 am

Play Ball…………..!!


March 3rd, 2012
10:25 am

Nice… baseball is finally here… kinda. Thanks DOB!


March 3rd, 2012
10:29 am

This may not apply to spring training games, but I’m pretty sure that regular season radio broadcasts are blacked out on the free radio sites. I think you have to buy an audio subscription from Again, not 100% sure about this.

Matt the Brave

March 3rd, 2012
11:22 am

Braves won’t be on 680 today, but if you’re up near Marietta, turn on 1230 AM. It’s The Fan 2.

braves rule

March 3rd, 2012
11:32 am

baseball is finally here maybe the braves can play a full 162 games this year. you hear that freddi don’t ruin your pen by using the same guys everyday make your starters go deeper into games.


March 3rd, 2012
11:40 am

It would be totally obvious if the BRAVES have zero interest in the new postseason format,especially when they are the ones who are in October year-after-year and it’s because of total sympathy and pity when they don’t show up in October postseason,especially like in 2011 of course, those who would be in this totally idiotic October format are the mets marlins and the cubs because these 3 teams don’t ever even win anything at all in baseball.But hey if they want to expand it’s nothing but a first hand advantage for us BRAVES.GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Buddy Greene

March 3rd, 2012
11:46 am

Kelvar-Chipper IS the team captain


March 3rd, 2012
12:30 pm

Awesome awesome awesome. Opening Day will be here soon. Go Braves

Wade Blassingame's Ghost

March 3rd, 2012
1:04 pm

Phillies vs. Yankees on right now (1 p.m. eastern, 12 noon central). First live game. Play ball.

Buckeye Brave

March 3rd, 2012
1:17 pm

Is anybody else only getting the Tigers radio feed on the At Bat app? I have the Braves feed selected but am stuck with the Tigers feed. This sucks.

Bier Breth

March 3rd, 2012
3:44 pm

Picked up right where we left off: One hit. I know it’s the first spring game and all, but it’s the Tigers’ first game, too. They scored twice and got ten hits. Ugh; please don’t let this be a sign of things to come.

The Monger

March 3rd, 2012
4:40 pm

More of the same from last year already….Detroit pitches a ONE HITTER against our starting 8 (with Hinske instead of Freeman). That one hit, by the way was by a non-roster player, so basically the Braves started the spring season going a mind-boggling 0-25 at the plate with their “powerhouse” starters. This was done against Detroit, who other than Verlander, is not known as a great pitching staff. Way to go….I’m predicting our offense will only get shutout 57 times this season…

Silver lining….another year of stagnant offense and missing the playoffs should get Freddi out of town forever…


March 3rd, 2012
4:45 pm

Really a one hitter today? Am I crazy or does this look deja vue.

The Monger

March 3rd, 2012
4:50 pm

Just to let it sink in…this was our offense that is supposed to get us to the World Series…

Michael Bourn 0-3
Martin Prado 0-3
Chipper Jones 0-1
Brian McCann 0-1
Dan Uggla 0-2
Eric Hinske 0-1
Jason Heyward 0-2
Matt Diaz 0-3
Tyler Pastornicky 0-2

Another year of possibly even worse offense is something I cant comprehend. I just can’t understand how a major league offense can be this inept for this long. I understand this is the first spring training game, but after hearing about all the work they put in these past 2 weeks, and how almost everyone showed up early to jump in the cages, and this is the result we fans get? Last year I did not think an MLB offense could get any worse than the 2011 Atlanta Braves, yet I have a creeping feeling the 2012 Braves offense will somehow be even worse. But hey at least they are having fun, goofing around, laughing all buddy-buddy, and high-fiving a bunch this spring- that’s all that matters to these guys. Yeah right….Get Freddi and Wren out of town ASAP and then blow this offensive “juggernaut” up, then maybe I will buy another Braves ticket…


March 3rd, 2012
5:28 pm

No, you don’t understand, Monger… what else can you expect from the worst fans in the world than a complete acquiescence after the first Spring game… looking forward to watching my team win or lose for the next 7-8 months but certainly not the blubbering done by the pseudo fans who are ready to give up now… Come to think of it, just go on and give up and GO AWAY…


March 3rd, 2012
6:19 pm

Saw the box score for today’s game too. OMG, what an awful sign for this year. Detroit had 10 hits while Braves get 1. Detroit pitchers have had no more work than their Braves counterparts. Sickening to watch or read about this continuous offensive ineptitude.


March 3rd, 2012
6:31 pm

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