Braves announce Freddie Freeman has fractured wrist, expected to miss 10 weeks
The Braves' first baseman was having an amazing start to the season, too
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has a fractured left wrist and been placed on the disabled list, the team announced Thursday. He will be in a cast for four weeks and the club expects him to miss 10 weeks. Initial reports indicated he would miss at least eight weeks, so while this timetable still technically lines up, it's even worse news for Braves fans.
Freeman was forced to leave Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays after.
This is an awfully big blow to the Braves' hopes of having a successful first season in SunTrust Park. They had already gotten off to a rough start at 16-21. Things were starting to look up with five wins in the past six games, but now Freeman is down for two months.
Freeman, 27, has arguably been the best hitter in baseball going back to last year's All-Star break. In the second half of 2016, he hit .323/.433/.634 with 22 doubles, 18 homers and 57 runs batted in over 70 games. This year, in 37 games, Freeman was slashing .341/.461/.748 with 11 doubles, an MLB-best 14 homers and 25 RBI. That's some monster production to remove from any lineup, much less one that ranks ninth in the NL in runs heading into Thursday's action.
Without Freeman, the Braves can go with Nick Markakis at first and Danny Santana in right. The lineup is likely to look something like Ender Inciarte, Brandon Phillips, Markakis and Matt Kemp 1-4 with someone like Jace Peterson or Santana in the five-hole.
Yeah, that doesn't seem quite so scary.
Perhaps Rio Ruiz can get hot upon promotion, play first base and bat fifth (with Markakis staying in the three-hole but playing right field)? Ruiz is 22 and swings lefty, as Freeman does, and has been recalled as a corresponding move. Ruiz is hitting .262/.305/.447 with four homers in 37 games for Triple-A, but -- as MLB Pipeline on Twitter notes -- he's hitting .350 with a .625 slugging percentage in his past 10 games. So he's hot at the right time. Ruiz had a cup of coffee in the bigs last year, going 2 for 7 with a triple and two RBI.
There's also James Loney now. The Braves have agreed to a deal with the veteran first baseman, Jon Heyman reports. Loney hit .229/.387/.250 for Triple-A Toledo until the Tigers released him, so there shouldn't be much left in the tank. I'm sure some would say it's worth a shot, as Loney was productive at the big-league level as recently as 2013 with Tampa Bay.
Regardless, Ruiz isn't filling Freeman's shoes and Loney certainly isn't. This is a bad day for the Braves.