680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Watching Freddie Freeman make his return to the field on Saturday evening, I forgot how easy he makes everything look. It started with his first time in the box. The swing, as simple and pretty as ever. And he wasted no time trying to get his timing back as he faced Josh Tomlin for his first few trips to the plate. The plan between now and the final exhibition against Miami on Wednesday is to get five to six at bats per day, taking him to approximately 30 before opening the regular season on Friday. After a hard ground out to first, Freeman doubled off the right field wall to drive in a run in the second inning. A scattering of fans observing from the adjacent Omni hotel pool deck and balconies added their own applause and cheers to the artificial crowd noise that teams have started utilizing over the last few days.
Freddie’s return on Friday came at a great time. Think about how tough a day it could’ve been, finding out he may not be ready to start the season, and also hearing the news about Yasiel Puig, who tested positive for COVID-19 and remains a free agent. Freeman’s return provided a level of comfort and solace, even though the news wasn’t all great on Friday.
In addition to looking locked in at the plate, Freddie was tested a few times defensively as well. In the third inning, he made one of those patented over the shoulder catches as he sprinted down the right field line in foul territory, close to the stands. Freddie has constantly received accolades for his offense, and rightfully so. But, the thought of having a Gold Glover back at first will provide that much more comfort to the Braves rotation and infielders, knowing those throws over to first don’t always have to be perfect. Freddie makes everything look much, much easier than it is. And Braves fans are fortunate to have a chance to call him their own, hopefully for many, many more years to come.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet