Between his finger injury and vision problems, Freddie Freeman’s sophomore season has come with its share of frustrations.
But the Braves the 22-year-old first baseman has been picking up momentum at the plate, and he said it has a lot to do with feeling better physically. Freeman said he feels as good as he has in two months, which has given him his confidence back.
“You have confidence in your body – in your eyes and your hand – and you can go out there and not think about things,” Freeman said. “Just play.”
Freeman had a second cortisone shot in his left index finger over the All-Star break which has helped him grip the bat better. The only time he said his finger has really “rattled” lately is catching a hard throw to first base by Craig Kimbrel or by shortstop Andrelton Simmons before his injury.
“It’s a whole lot better than it was,” Freeman said. “I don’t even think about it anymore.”
For a while there Freeman said he wasn’t even taking any practice swings in the on-deck circle, just taking one swing at the plate before preparing for the first pitch. Now he’s back to his usual seven to nine practice swings.
Freeman is seeing results at the plate. He entered Tuesday’s game on a seven-game hitting streak, while batting .426 (12-for-26) with three doubles and two home runs. He’d hit .342 (26-for-76) with 10 extra-base hits and 17 RBIs his previous 21 games.
“He’s had some nagging stuff that’s tough – his eyes and he was hit in the hand,” said Jason Heyward, who went through his share of injuries as a second-year player too. “Those are two tough things when it comes to hitting. It’s already tough enough. He’s battled through it and we appreciate that – not going on the DL, staying in the lineup as much as possible and fighting through it. Things like that help teams go a long way.”