Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman could barely contain his excitement Monday after being activated from the disabled list and penciled into the lineup at Coors Field, where he’s homered in three of his past four games.
Then the game against Colorado was postponed by snow. Freeman was left to bounce around the clubhouse and, presumably, the team hotel, burning energy until Tuesday’s split doubleheader at 3:10 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. (EDT).
“I’ll just have to wait for tomorrow,” said Freeman, who spent 15 days on the DL for an oblique strain. “Unfortunately (the game got postponed), but it’s hard to play in the snow. … I’m off the DL. I’m excited still, even if it’s canceled.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and Freeman said there would be no restrictions on the first baseman in Tuesday’s doubleheader, to be played in temperatures near freezing with possible snow showers during the opening game.
“I’m ready to go,” said Freeman, who went 5-for-10 with two doubles in three rehab games at Triple-A Gwinnett. “I’m just happy to be here. Those last 15 days have been hard, watching the team on TV. So it’s just nice to be here.”
The Braves are happy to have him. They hit .157 and totaled three runs while losing three in a row at Pittsburgh through Sunday. Freeman was 7-for-17 (.412) with a homer and seven RBIs in five games before going on the DL.
He has a .406 career average (13-for-32) at Coors Field with three doubles, a triple, four homers, 11 RBIs and a .938 slugging percentage in six games. But it’s also where his dry-eye condition became a major issue last May, when the thin air and windy conditions caused him fits and eventually cost him playing time.
Freeman struggled much of the season to find a pair of glasses suitable for hitting, or contact lenses that would stay moist. During the offseason he found a pair of contacts and drops that have helped him control the situation, with the aid of non-prescription, wraparound glasses he wears while playing defense to keep out wind and irritants.
“I was kind of excited (about returning from the DL at Coors Field),” he said. “But then I was like, oh, man, that’s where my eyes went bad. Hopefully the wind dies down and I can get through this series OK.”
The Braves have a 12-3 record against the Rockies over the past two seasons, including 5-2 at Coors Field.
Snowed out: Monday’s would-be starting pitchers, left-handers Mike Minor of the Braves and Jeff Francis of the Rockies, are set to start the first game of the doubleheader. Julio Teheran will face Colorado’s Jon Garland in the night game, as originally scheduled.
It was the fifth Braves game at Colorado that’s been snowed out, all five in April and the most recent in 2008. The Rockies have had 16 games postponed by snow in Denver, including three this season.
Uggla wants to play two: After straining a calf muscle Saturday and missing a start Sunday, Dan Uggla said he was ready to play Monday and expected to play both games of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
“It feels good,” he said. “I’m pretty good at managing my own limitations with (injuries). It allows me to come back maybe a little earlier than I’m probably supposed to, but you’ve just got to be disciplined enough to know how far you can take it.”
Gonzalez didn’t sound so sure about how far Uggla would take it Tuesday.
“I think Danny won’t play two games because he’s coming off that calf (strain),” said Gonzalez, who wasn’t sure if Uggla would have been in the lineup Monday on a wet field.
“I don’t want him, after he comes out of a game because he had a little calf thing, then all of a sudden you’re thinking he can play 18 innings. I don’t think that’s smart.”
Uggla didn’t mince words when asked about potentially playing only one game in the doubleheader.
“I will be disappointed,” he said. “There’s no reason for me not to play both games. I feel good and I’m ready to go.”
Hot to cold: The Braves roared out to a 12-1 start, which ended much the way their last two comparable starts ended: abruptly. They are 1-4 in their past five games, including a three-game skid Friday through Sunday at Pittsburgh.
It’s reminiscent of 1982, when the Braves started 13-0, then lost their next five. In 1994, when they started 13-1, they lost nine of the next 11.
This year, the Braves had a 10-game winning streak contribute to the 12-1 start. They’ve lost four of five since and hit .157 with no homers and three runs combined while losing the last three at Pittsburgh.
The Braves are still unbeaten (13-0) when they hit at least one homer and still winless (0-5) when they don’t.