Freddie Freeman is making quick progress after partially disclocating his right kneecap Tuesday while doing pick drills at first base.
Freeman hit off a tee and took live batting practice earlier today, after which he told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he didn’t even think about his knee. “I let it loose and I feel great,” Freeman told O’Brien.
It’s not clear when Freeman will make his Grapefruit League debut, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that he hopes to be cleared to take infield within the next two days.
Freeman, 22, batted .282/.346/.448 with 21 home runs, 76 RBI and a .795 OPS last season. He finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting behind teammate Craig Kimbrel.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.