LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A frustrated Freddie Freeman went through the final four months of last season wondering when his injured left index finger would allow him to grip a baseball bat in pain-free fashion. He received his answer when he began taking batting practice after the arrival of the new year.
Freeman's left index finger was badly bruised when he was hit with a Jose Reyes throw while sliding with his arm extended toward the former Marlins shortstop on June 6. Freeman played in just seven games of the two weeks that followed, and he felt restricted with his swing during the remainder of the season.
Freeman injured his finger around the time he was starting to overcome the vision problems that plagued him throughout May. The 23-year-old first baseman is also happy to say that he has not experienced any recent problems with his eyesight. He has found a comfortable pair of contact lenses that he plans to protect with clear Oakley sunglasses that are expected to arrive within the next two weeks.
Freeman's vision became a problem immediately after he had been named National League Player of the Week for the second time in the season's first five weeks. He batted .298 with six home runs and a .864 OPS in his first 28 games. Burdened by the blurred eyesight and sore finger, he batted . 251 with 17 homers and a .781 OPS in his final 118 games.
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Brian McCann understands that he is likely at least two months away from being cleared to play in a Major League game. But the Braves catcher was still encouraged with the update he received after his surgically repaired right shoulder was evaluated by the team's orthopedic surgeon Dr. Xavier Duralde on Saturday morning.
McCann will attempt to remain patient while going through a long rehab process that will likely keep him out of Atlanta's starting lineup for at least the first two weeks of the regular season. The six-time All-Star catcher was cleared on Saturday to begin hitting balls flipped by coaches or teammates who are positioned just a few feet away. He had been restricted to hitting off a tee over the past couple of weeks.
McCann is slowly regaining arm strength. His throwing program moved him to a distance of 90 feet earlier this week. He completed one set of 15 throws on Tuesday and two sets of 15 on Thursday. He took it a step further by completing two sets of 25 on Saturday.
---- Source: MLB.com
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt