What was presumed Wednesday night became reality Thursday: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman suffered a fractured left wrist.
Freeman will miss "approximately 10 weeks," the Braves announced in a release Thursday afternoon.
To put it another way, Freeman will be out until at least late July or early August, well after the All-Star break. Even then there likely will be a period during which Freeman works to regain his strength in his hands and wrist, and, therefore, his hitting touch.
I'll have a full column later with comments from players and coaches. But until then, here are some quick thoughts on the injury:
• As I wrote in a blog Thursday night, Freeman is the one player the Braves' couldn't afford to lose. I'm not one who has ever believed this team was going to make the playoffs. But at 16-21 and five games out of a playoff berth after 37 games wasn't an awful position, especially given the state of the team's pitching staff. One could at least talk themselves into believing the Braves had a shot. But with their best player now sidelined at least two months, those hopes look dead.
• Stating the obvious here: Freeman's absence will crush the Braves' everyday lineup. That's not taking anything away from the fine seasons of Matt Kemp, Tyler Flowers and Nick Markakis. But you don't take away 36.8 percent (14 of 38) of a team's home runs, 20.1 percent (35 of 175) of its runs scored and 19.5 percent (101 of 517) of its total bases without significant impact. Also, they have no obvious choice to place first base. Jace Peterson moved to first base for the first time in his major league career after Freeman's injury.
• There are some athletes who project to fans as good guys, but in truth there not the greatest people behind the scenes. That's not the case with Freeman. He's as fine and genuine a person as there is and dedicated to his profession and team, so it's especially tough to see him go down like this on a personal level, even aside from the professional aspect. The fact he was having an MVP-caliber season -- with a major-league leading 14 homers, 11 doubles, 27 walks, .341 batting average, 1.209 OPS -- makes it even worse.
• Freeman was one OF eight batters hit in the Past three games against Toronto. But, no, I don't believe reliever Aaron Loup intentionally plunked Freeman. The pitch was inside but not stupidly inside. There's also this: Loup has hit four batters in only 16 1/3 innings this season. Actually, he's hit four batters in his Past seven outings, encompassing only 4 2/3 innings. So unless you're of the opinion he's a contracted hit man, there's no reason to think it was intentional. I'm more apt to believe he just stinks.
Of course, you're free to disagree. And that's not to suggest there won't be retribution tonight.
I'll have more in a full column later.
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