Jake Westbrook, NCAA bracket aficionado

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westbrook posing.JPGJake Westbrook may have missed the entire 2009 season due to Tommy John surgery, but that doesn’t mean he’s off the map in Cleveland. 

The right-hander clinched a “Celebrity Bracket Challange” over the weekend hosted by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, beating out local VIPs like the Browns’ Josh Cribbs, the Cavaliers’ Mo Williams and Kosta Koufos, a former Ohio State Basketball player.  Westbrook’s bracket has only one Final Four team intact — West Virginia — but that’s enough to win most bracket challenges in what has been a wild NCAA Tournament.

For reference: Duke, Butler and Michigan State will be joining the Mountaineers in Indianapolis next weekend for college basketball’s biggest prize.

Westbrook’s prize for winning the Plain-Dealer’s bracket pick ’em?  Well, we’re not sure.  But the right-hander has compiled a 2-0 record and a 4.86 ERA in 16 2/3 innings of Cactus League play this spring and has recaptured his spot atop the Tribe’s starting rotation.  That’s gotta be worth something.

Freddie Freeman’s X-rays come back negative

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The Braves got a scare last night after first baseman Freddie Freeman was hit on the left wrist by a Hoby Milner fastball in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was doubly scary given that, less than a year ago, the same wrist was fractured when Aaron Loup plunked him last year, causing Freeman to miss over a month and a half.

Good news, though: the Braves just announced that Freeman’s X-rays are negative and that he’s day-to-day.

On the season, Freeman is batting .288/.468/.492 with two home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored in 79 plate appearances.