Slumping Freeman out of lineup for first time

After going 2-for-21 with 10 strikeouts in his past five games, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman had no complaints about being out of the lineup Monday for the first time in 10 games.

Eric Hinske got the assignment at first base, the veteran utility man’s first start at any position this season. Manager Fredi Gonzalez likes to keep his bench players sharp with occasional starts.

“The way he’s swinging he should be in there,” Freeman said of Hinske, who was 3-for-7 with three RBIs before Monday, all pinch-hitting.  “It’s hard to count on someone in the eighth and ninth inning if they haven’t played. ‘Ski somehow seems to do it. Every time he’s up there he’s hitting a guy in.

“I’ve just got to keep working hard and build off of what happened yesterday.”

What happened Sunday for Freeman was two line-drive outs to left field. When the left-handed slugger is on his game, Freeman hits a lot of balls hard to center or to the opposite (left) field. That’s something he did plenty in the last two weeks of spring training, but not during the early part of the season.

Freeman, the 2011 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up, had a .162 average with one extra-base hit (double) and one RBI before Monday, and was a team-worst 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

“It’s two-fold,” Gonzalez said of resting Freeman. “Getting Hinske in there – he’s the last guy to get a start of the bench guys. So get him in there. We’re beginning 13 [games] in a row, so get him in there, get him a start, and give Freeman a little breather.”

Freeman, 22, said it wasn’t as easy to regain his opposite-field stroke during the season as it was during spring training.

“But [Sunday’s hard-hit balls to left] was a start, and you’ve got take a positive out of it,” he said.

Freeman was 1-for-11 against Mets right-hander Dillon Gee, the starting pitcher for Monday’s series opener. Hinske was 0-for-6 with two walks against Gee before Monday.

“If you don’t put Hinske in today, he doesn’t match up well later on,” Gonzalez said, referring to some of the upcoming pitchers are scheduled to face. “It’s not like he’s killed Gee. But anyway….”

While Freeman is trying to regain his own form, he’s been glad to see his friend Jason Heyward wielding a hot bat early. A year ago, Heyward was bothered early by a sore shoulder and slumped soon after Freeman began to surge.

Before Monday, Heyward hit .345 with a .424 on-base percentage, including 7-for-14 with two homers in his past four games.

“We all know this is Jason,” said Freeman, who roomed with Heyward for three years in the minor leagues. “It’s awesome to see. Everybody knew it and he’s finally healthy — you can see the Jason of 2010, what I got to see since 2007. It’s going to be fun to watch the rest of the year.”

47 comments Add your comment

bobby

April 16th, 2012
7:18 pm

Could yell first but what difference does it make? I just hope Freddie gets started hitting.

retired

April 16th, 2012
7:21 pm

he who is last shall be first at least this once

retired

April 16th, 2012
7:22 pm

obviously no difference lol

bravesfan2012

April 16th, 2012
7:24 pm

Can someone tell me wehy Turner Field is half empty but Yankee Stadium is nearly a sellout tonight ?

bravesgrl4life

April 16th, 2012
7:27 pm

Cause it’s a lot easier for NY people to get to Yankee Stadium than it is for a lot of local Braves fans to get to Turner Field. Atlanta is a lot more spread out than NYC.

David O'Brien

April 16th, 2012
7:28 pm

Can someone tell me wehy Turner Field is half empty but Yankee Stadium is nearly a sellout tonight ? — bravesfan2012

Can only assume you became a Braves fan in 2012, as your name suggests. Because if not, you should know the Braves don’t draw well at all on weeknights before school lets out for the summer. Particularly the first games after a big opening weekend. Most folks who were going to go to just a game or two in the first week would’ve probably gone to the weekend game, not one of these three against Mets.

bravesfan1966

April 16th, 2012
8:26 pm

I read something to the effect that the Braves are under a television contract for the next 20 years and that it is the worst in baseball. What is the deal and why would they agree to something like this? Is that why they don’t have the revenue to sign top notch free agents?

Bluestreak

April 16th, 2012
9:00 pm

All contracts can be broken. I’d rather pay the out fee and get a good TV contract then be burdened for 20 years.

But I bet that FS/FSSouth/Meredith would be glad to rework the contract to help ensure they have ratings with the Braves. Bad teams = low ratings.

And the Hawks and whichever regional Hockey team is not going to do it for FS/FSSouth. And how many reruns of Seinfeld can Meredith/PTree TV show?

Loosing Managar = Loosing Record

April 16th, 2012
9:28 pm

That drunky Hansen gavde this game a way. Nice going. Why R the Braves giving this guy so many chances? He has a drug or drinking problem 2 where he almost kilt himslef and now he can’t pitch. What gives?

carl,,

April 16th, 2012
9:41 pm

it has nothing to with school in or out ,yankee fans support the yankees, braves fans do not ,braves are not playing that well so far this year, maybe that has something to with it, if the braves start wining and compete againest the mets &phillies the fans will be there

Mr. Realistik

April 16th, 2012
9:47 pm

you can thank the braves announcers for the ike davis homerun….. yes during his at bat skip chip or whatever his name is was talking about walking david wright and facing ike!!!!!!! duriing the ike at bat chip skip or whatever his fu##IN name is continued talking about how much ike has been struggling and how bad his swing is and that his swing is so long!!!!!!! Please Shut the FU%% up during an at bat especially when the game is on the line!!!!! retard$$$$$$$

Disgusted

April 16th, 2012
9:50 pm

A Disgusting lousy BUMB game by Hanson tonight who deserved to be Booed.

As for sitting Freeman, it was not the wrong thing to do.

Once again those bums revert to their losing ways as usual.

They deserve to be Booed when they take the field tommorrow. Still have to do better with attendance regardless. Otherwise we are giving Liberty a good reason for being cheep.

Disgusted

April 16th, 2012
9:58 pm

“And the Hawks and whichever regional Hockey team is not going to do it for FS/FSSouth. And how many reruns of Seinfeld can Meredith/PTree TV show?”

Except for the Braves, the programming on P.Tree TV stinks. Almost the same for the filler programs for FS and FSS.

We need better sports programming on the local sports affiliates.

I would like to see them at least put some programming on prior Hawks history and there is a market for the regional hockey teams had that market been tapped in to.

Would like to see some Gwinnett Gladiator coverage, its better than poker tounnaments, women’s college sports & re runs of In My Own Words.

They do cover the Dream and since that is pro, I have an interest in that. And why not some G-Braves games once in a while and some Gwinnett Braves oriented shows. Why not shows that feature all of the Braves system.

Can also draw on the recruiting interest. And have some draft shows.

Disgusted

April 16th, 2012
10:04 pm

“I read something to the effect that the Braves are under a television contract for the next 20 years and that it is the worst in baseball. What is the deal and why would they agree to something like this? Is that why they don’t have the revenue to sign top notch free agents?”

It was agreed around 2007 by the previous ownership, Time Warner. It was a 25 yr deal. Why, no one knows, Terry Mc Guirk never says much. And Liberty Media, who bought the team in a complicated assett swap is pretty much an absentee owner with no ties to the local community.

Ownership and PR is a part of the reason for the lack of interest in the community in this team. They draw on weekends, and though they do not draw great on week nites when the kids are in school, its getting worse.

Fan of the Game

April 16th, 2012
10:53 pm

The city of Atlanta isn’t going to support anything unless there is a handout. The surrounding areas and states support the Braves.

gotigers72

April 17th, 2012
12:47 am

There are only 8 million people in New York vs. what 750,000 in Hotlanta? More in the surrounding area I would guess, but you get the point. That is why NY is able to support 2 baseball teams, 2 football teams, etc. The Braves and other pro teams in Atlanta are regional teams, supported by the people in the Southeast. Attendance peaks in June, July and August when school is out and families take vacations and go to Atlanta.

I know if I lived in Atlanta, I would have season tickets, but I’m a 2 1/2 hour drive away. Therefore for me and my family it takes money for hotel rooms, eating out, gas, etc. if we’re going to see more than one game at a time. We usually pick a series [or two if I'm feeling frisky and have a little extra cash], and play it that way. People that live in NY, Chicago or LA can take in a series just by going one day at a time w/o having to spend extra money for gas, rooms, etc. The most successful regional franchise is St.Louis, a team supported by the midwest. St. Louis is and always has been a great baseball town.

Just think what it would have been like to have lived in NY when they had THREE baseball teams. Brooklyn, the Giants and the Yankees. With all of those great players on those teams. FANtastic!

Scottbravesfan

April 17th, 2012
1:51 am

Carl the team isn’t very good? They just won 5 in a row and drew over 100,000 fans for a weekend series. The reason the games aren’t well attended during the week is because the fans in Atlanta are horrible. The weekend games are supported by the regional fan base and during the week it’s up to metro Atlanta fans to show up and they don’t. I was at the game Saturday night and it takes me almost 4 hours to get there. But this team is a good team they just swept a very good brewers team. For some reason dillan gee has this teams number and Johan Santana is pretty good. Hopefully they can win the next two but with Santana going tomorrow it’s going to be tough.

As for the braves tv contract it was good market value when they signed it but the last two seasons has seen baseball’s regional tv rights go through the roof. I doubt they will be able to renegotiate with fox, I know I wouldn’t if I was fox.

Also all the fans that say if the team wins they will draw more Atlanta fans, just stop. The braves, falcons, and hawks are all good teams and none of them draw. I watch every falcons game too and there is always a ton of empty seats unless they are playing a big northeast team like the giants or eagles and then all of the transplants and black fans that still like Vick come out. Hawks don’t draw and have trouble selling out an 18,000 seat arena for playoff games.

alanfalcon

April 17th, 2012
7:24 am

Tommie needs help and is not getting it under Roger, his stuff is good, just not controlled and you could see it from the start last night.

yogi

April 17th, 2012
8:48 am

Why is Wilsn playing shortstop? He can’t hit .He was robbed of a home run but that is very rare.Let the rookie play everyday or go get a good hitting vetern s. stop..
I still mad about Esbobar

yogi

April 17th, 2012
8:50 am

u guys complaining about the fan base not supporting the Braves .. Were u there last night expert?

Winchester

April 17th, 2012
9:00 am

Show me any pitcher with Hanson’s delivery and I’ll show you a pitcher who gets lit up on a constant basis.

Show me any pitcher with Hanson’s delivery and I’ll show you a pitcher who gets bases swiped on a constant basis.

The man is dreadful!

Reid in EAV

April 17th, 2012
9:01 am

Sigh. Looks like it’s Freeman’s turn for the sophomore slump.

Ted Abernathy

April 17th, 2012
9:11 am

Haven’t been to a game this year, but the last game I went to last year, it took me 2 hours and 41 minutes to get to the game (I live 12 miles from the stadium) and 2 hours to get home. Got to the game by the 4th inning. Driving in Atlanta sucks.

Dawg Fud

April 17th, 2012
9:20 am

DOB,

I enjoy your articles and always appreciate the job you do. You are doing a great job! Hoping the Braves come around soon….

2011champs

April 17th, 2012
9:57 am

I can think of 2 good reasons that so-called fans do not come out to the Ted to see games in person, and they kind of go together. Why would you want to go into a crime infested area and risk being hassled or worse, then have to pay an arm and a leg for concessions, and that does not even take in account the awful traffic flow around the stadium. It makes more sence to sit in your easy chair at home and not worry about those problems. The last time I attended a game in Atlanta, my car was hit in the parking lot, and it took over 2 hours for one of Atlanta’s finest to show up at the scene to write an accident report. I will stay at home from now on thank you.

Smitty

April 17th, 2012
10:04 am

The team is not the problem. The CITY is the problem. I wish just ONE of the Atlanta teams would have the sense to move away from downtown. The area is a cesspool. I love being at the games, but the vagrants that surround the venues make it an uncomfortable place to visit. If you offered me a free steak dinner but I had to eat it in a public bathroom stall, I’d pass on that too. Put a stadium north of the perimeter, and I’ll be first in line for season tickets.

Bobcat

April 17th, 2012
10:24 am

I must agree with “2011champs”. I regularly attended games at the old Fulton County stadium because you could get a good deal on tickets and concessions. However, since the Ted opened up I have attended 4 games and all four were horrible experiences. I don’t know if it is safer inside or outside the stadium, either way you get robbed. The tickets are over priced and the food is not worth eating. I am much better off not fighting the traffic, high priced tickets, overpriced food, and uncomfortable seating. I would much rather relax at home and watch them on TV. And if they are playing lousy, which is almost any game these days, I can turn the TV to ESPN and watch the Yankees and Red Sox since that is the only games ESPN shows in recent years.

BTW, I don’t care about the terrible contract deal the Braves made. Just keep showing them on TV and I’ll keep watching.

C from Marietta

April 17th, 2012
10:58 am

@ Bobcat

I go to several games a year.

1) The traffic is not that bad. If you know where to park.
2) BRING YOUR OWN FOOD IN!
3) Outfield Pavillion is only 20$ and 2 for 1 on Tuesdays
4) Seats are fine. Much nicer than Altanta Fulton County Stadium

Playing lousy. Almost every night. LOL
You must be a joy to hang out with.

Bye Fredi

April 17th, 2012
11:11 am

If you think it is time for Fredi to go, type “bye Fredi”.

Bye Fredi

April 17th, 2012
11:12 am

BravesFan1976

April 17th, 2012
11:20 am

Carl, even when the Braves were winning division titles no one went to the game. LOL you will get 100k people saying they all went to every game but in truth between 15-20k really did. Atlanta isnt a sports friendly town, except for football. They want it fast and they want in now, that is why they cant keep a hockey team. Atlanta always has and always will be, my favorite city and that is the reason I will never visit it or live there. I dont want the reality to destroy my fantasy.

Tucson AZ

April 17th, 2012
11:22 am

Why don’t they sit Dan Uggla down? He’s an out everytime he goes up to bat.

BravesFan1976

April 17th, 2012
11:23 am

BYE FREDI!!!!

Tucson AZ

April 17th, 2012
11:34 am

Don

April 17th, 2012
11:48 am

Near the end of Spring Training — The hitting coach told one of the players to start trying to pull more — Wasn’t it Freeman.
This is very bad advice from a hitting coach. In most cases the advice needs to be the exact opposite. This does not speak well for how successful the hitting coach will be. – it that report was true.

JoeFan

April 17th, 2012
12:02 pm

You put your best 8 position players out there everyday if you want to compete in every game. Hinske and Wilson don’t fall into that group for the Braves.

not pleased

April 17th, 2012
12:47 pm

i think the players have the necessary talent to win. they just are not motivated. we need some one to put fire in their belly!!!!!!!

Damon Barryhill

April 17th, 2012
1:24 pm

Good thing we get to listen to that DOUCHE Chip Caray for another year. Where is it written that since he’s a Caray, he has to be in the Braves booth?

vietnamvet

April 17th, 2012
1:58 pm

SOB SAME OLD BRAVES

John A.

April 17th, 2012
2:47 pm

John A.

April 17th, 2012
3:03 pm

Freeman has a short memory….he said in ST has was going to focus on winning the batting title this year. I suppose he did’t realize he would be hitting against major league pitchers that would adjut to gis hitting style. If that isn’t the case he should just TIP HIS CAP

John A.

April 17th, 2012
3:03 pm

Freeman has a short memory….he said in ST has was going to focus on winning the batting title this year. I suppose he did’t realize he would be hitting against major league pitchers that would adjut to gis hitting style. If that isn’t the case he should just TIP HIS CAP

BravesRealFan

April 17th, 2012
3:45 pm

I think the issue here with Freeman is not his physical attributes. Its what’s inbetween the 2 ears. He’ll just need to stop getting so frustrated when he gets out. He looks like a guy going through something more than just not hitting.

Just saying.

With that said i predict he’ll explode offensively on his next start.

Brownie

April 17th, 2012
4:05 pm

I’d be curious to know where all of the above experts who are calling for firings, sitting down players, and questioning the line-up card last night, were during the team’s 5 game win streak???

OH, and “Loosing Managar = Loosing Record”, until you learn to spell just a little bit, nobody will take you seriously at all.

Tucson, AZ – Uggla stunk it up the first couple of months last year, but his attitude never wavered and FG stuck with him….he then went on a 33 game hitting streak. It’s baseball – ebb and flow, players have to play their way out of slumps.

bobbymahlon

April 17th, 2012
4:09 pm

Foul mouth Hinski last night

CRMAC300

April 17th, 2012
4:53 pm

Encouraged by the way that Minor and Beachy pitched in their last starts. Hanson looked good in his first two starts, rocky in his third. Delgado gave us 5 good innings in his start. Get Jurjjens going and get Hudson back and the starting pitching will be good. Got to get rid of those two posers in the bullpen, surely there are pitchers in the minors that can do better than Hernandez and that other guy, can’t remember his name, but he gives up a home run every time he steps on the field. Encouraged by Hayward, not surprised by Freeman. He has more holes in his swing than a rabbit patch. Uggla will hit. McCann will hit. Chipper will hit. Braves will be OK and will make the playoffs.

Andrea Brandon

April 20th, 2012
8:09 am

Guess you are surprised by Freeman again, do not count him out.

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