Update: On Thursday, the Braves announced Freeman broke his wrist and placed him on the 10-day DL. Rio Ruiz was recalled to replace him.
Freeman is expected to miss about 10 weeks, the team said.
-End of Update-
There is real concern Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman suffered a broken left wrist on Wednesday night when he was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning against Toronto Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup.
There’s no official word from the team, but there’s an ominous feeling following the errant pitch. X-rays have been taken, but the Braves are waiting to confirm the diagnosis and will run further tests on Thursday. The team called it “inconclusive” on Wednesday night.
Freeman exited the game right away after slowly walking toward the dugout where he met manager Brian Snitker and trainer Jim Lovell. Freeman was replaced by pinch runner Johan Carmago, who stayed in the game to play third base while Jace Peterson moved from third to first.
It would be an enormous loss — and that’s even an understatement — for the Braves, who’d won three games in a row, including Wednesday night’s 8-4 win over the Blue Jays. The team is in second place in the NL East and playing better, even with a record of just 16-21.
Freeman was hitting .343 with a 1.211 OPS and 14 home runs heading into Wednesday night’s game for a Braves offense that would sorely miss his presence in the middle of the order. Much is made of lineup construction and whether it matters or not, but Freeman’s extended absence would leave an impossible hole to fill.
Matt Kemp has hit well this season protecting Freeman, but hitting him third would slide everyone else up a spot and shorten a lineup the Braves worked to deepen between last year’s trade deadline and now.
There are no obvious replacements on the roster for Freeman. Ryan Howard was signed as a free agent to a minor league deal as a bat off the bench and an in-case-of-emergency replacement for Freeman, but was released after hitting .184 in 11 games for Triple-A Gwinnett.