So what does Braves’ Freeman (3 doubles) do for an encore?

Jason Heyward met expectations last year. Now it's Freddie Freeman's turn. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Jason Heyward met expectations last year. Now it's Freddie Freeman's turn. (Jason Getz/AJC)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Freddie Freeman doubled in his first three spring training at-bats Saturday.

So after a string of first basemen since 1998 — after Fred McGriff left — that includes (but are not limited to) Andres Galarraga,  Ryan Klesko, Rico Brogna, Julio Franco, Robert Fick, Adam LaRoche, Scott Thorman, Mark Teixeira, Casey Kotchman, Troy Glaus and Derrek Lee, is it possible this revolving door finally will stop spinning?

I know. It’s only a spring training game. But Freeman, 21, doesn’t look or act like a kid. Much like Jason Heyward did not look or act like a kid last year

It’s Freeman’s third spring training. The awe factor is gone. He’s coming off an offseason workout program that added 12 pounds of granite to his frame. Two of three doubles — to left, center and right fields – against the New York Mets were screaming line drives, the other was a blooper.

His spring training debut last season?

“I struck out,” he said.

Maybe this would be good time to st0p being overly concerned about Braves’ rookies being crushed by high expectations. Last year, spring training was like a one-actor Broadway show starring the car-denting, windshield-crushing Heyward. He responded to the spotlight by homering in his major league first at-bat and finishing second for National League rookie of the year honors.

Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that Heyward and Freeman are close friends — as well as co-coverboys of this week’s Sports Illustrated. Freeman said he was helped by seeing how Heyward responded to the attention last season.

“When you see one of your friends do it, it gives you confidence,” he said. “We’re two different people but I feel I’m prepared. And obviously this being my third spring training I’m a lot more comfortable. I’m not at all timid any more.”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he’ll likely bat Freeman low in the order so as to not overly burden him. “It’s not going to be a situation where it’s like, ‘OK, this is your job,’” he said. “I just want him to get his at-bats.”

Just guessing: The Brogna-Fick-LaRoche-Thorman-Kotchman parade ends here.

By Jeff Schultz

Previous blogs from Braves’ camp

Braves hoping to recreate chemistry from 2010 season

Digi-Blog goes to Braves’  spring training at Disney (they charge, I don’t)

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

33 comments Add your comment

Go Braves

February 26th, 2011
9:45 pm

First!!!!!!!!!!!

Jamaliver

February 26th, 2011
9:52 pm

Things are indeed looking up for ATL Braves: The Next Generation.
I put some importance into the fact that alot of pressure and attention wa on Freeman today and he responded well. That bodes well for the future.

Cherilyn Sturgill

February 26th, 2011
9:53 pm

Your mom is first!

Matt the Brave

February 26th, 2011
9:55 pm

Didn’t we have Wally Joyner in there at some point too?

fred

February 26th, 2011
9:57 pm

Thanks Jeff for great job today………Matt Young I hope makes it..exciting to watch.

Sonny Clusters

February 26th, 2011
10:05 pm

We was quite impressed by Freddie Freeman today.

jp

February 26th, 2011
10:08 pm

good article. I think freeman can be a solid contributor. He’ll never be an all star at first but that’s ok

jp

February 26th, 2011
10:11 pm

If Tex wasn’t so greedy he could be doing well here instead of being under the spotlight in NY and not handling the pressure

Charlie Leibrandt

February 26th, 2011
10:14 pm

I didn’t want to throw him a slider…

Charlie Leibrandt

February 26th, 2011
10:15 pm

I remember Mike Lum at 1st…

Coach(sic) Paul Johnson

February 26th, 2011
10:20 pm

Georgia Tech has lost 5 of their last 6 football games, only beating Duke.

Georgia Tech only graduates 43% of their football players.

Alan

February 26th, 2011
10:29 pm

This team is going to surprise. St L is done. And I guanantee you one of the philly fab will have a season ending inj and another will suck. The brave killer on that team was howard and werth and he is ghandi. I bet we win 95 shock everyone and win the series

Vain Jangling

February 26th, 2011
10:29 pm

Rico Brogna, we hardly knew ya.

Seattle Braves Fan

February 26th, 2011
10:40 pm

Just dreaming but imagine if Freeman could be another Chipper instead of another LaRoche

D A DoubleU G

February 26th, 2011
10:56 pm

The KID hit 3 doubles on the first game of SPRING TRAINING against possibly the relief pitchers for the Mets’ rookie league team.

I want the KID to do just as well as anybody else, but let’s take a deep breath and re-evaluate this situation around the beginning of August.

GO BRAVES!!

Howard

February 26th, 2011
11:35 pm

Which genius at the Braves office allowed Sports Illustrated to slap Heyward and Freeman on the cover??? There goes the season…and for the Mets?? Someone wrote they used their rookie league relief pitchers today?? Heck, that’s probably all they could afford after Bernie Madoff cleaned the payroll of the Wilpons out.

Worst to first

February 26th, 2011
11:48 pm

I think it’s extremely early to say the kid will never be an all-star. He has plenty of potential.if he has the same ability to adjust as Heyward does,and he has already shown that in the minors, the sky is the limit for him

JHey's Better

February 26th, 2011
11:52 pm

Why are people losing their minds over one spring training game yeah Kimbrel gave up a homer and walked some guys its THE FIRST GAME OF SPRING TRAINING not the NL Championship game 7 to go to the Series. You know you can tell who actually watches and knows something about BASEBALL in general and who just rides the wagon until they lose 5 staight in May

scottbravesfan

February 27th, 2011
12:01 am

JHey’s better,

Man you see this all the time on DOB’s blog. People freak the hell out if the Braves lose one game.

Also it’s WAY too early to say that Freeman will never be an all star. He is 21. Pujols is 31. When Pujols is 40 years old Freeman will still be in his prime. Adrian Gonzalez is out of the NL as well. Freeman will have plenty of opportunity to make the allstar team.

Cherilyn Sturgill

February 27th, 2011
12:11 am

anyone like a southern graduate?

Darryl Blackberry

February 27th, 2011
12:32 am

I think we all know FF is gonna be something special. Question is, will he be a John Olerud type of 1B, or is it possible that he could grow into a Jim Thome? Personally, I could see him somewhere in between as a kind of Wally Joyner type of player (albeit the younger Wally from his Padres’ heyday)…

Cherilyn Sturgill

February 27th, 2011
12:36 am

my wife wants to have a baby!

Ted M

February 27th, 2011
3:06 am

LaRoche was good we could not afford him.

NotSoSureBoutFreddie

February 27th, 2011
6:20 am

Braves fans should start making their excuses for Freddie Freeman now, and save them for later in Aug. when he’s has a .220 ba, 2 hr,10 db, 25 rbi, 30 errors, .420 ops, with the Braves 20 games under .500.

NotSoSureBoutFreddie

February 27th, 2011
6:31 am

I hope Freddie reads my last post, gets angry at it, and makes me look like a fool for posting bulldip, ups my ba prediction by .100, hr by 30, db by 50, rbis by 50, reduce the errors by 20, up ops by .500, and add 10 triples for good measure.

Jesse Stone

February 27th, 2011
7:30 am

Wally Joyner’s yoinger ‘hayday” was with the Angels, not Padres.

MightyQuinn

February 27th, 2011
7:30 am

FF has started slow then gained steam during the season at about every level. I am prepared for him to struggle early and be a solid starter after the All-Star break. He’s 21 y.o., patience, people, patience.

[...] – So what does Freddie Freeman (3 doubles) do for an encore? [...]

MightyQuinn

February 27th, 2011
7:33 am

BTW, anyone besides me see the pics of Freeman and Heyward together and think about Murphy and Horner?

[...] lineup: Martin Prado (7), Jordan Schafer (8), Jones (DH), Uggla (4), Freddie Freeman (3) — he’s coming off a three-double game Saturday — Alex Gonzalez (6), Ross (2), Joe Mather (9), Shawn Bowman (5). Today’s Braves’ [...]

[...] [Photo courtesy of Jason Getz/AJC] [...]

BRAVO MAN

March 2nd, 2011
4:23 pm

Atlanta…Imagine if we could buy alcohol on Sunday

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TOM_UuQzc0

LawDawg

March 3rd, 2011
4:31 pm

I completely forgot about Scott Thorman’s existence until just this moment.