On Tuesday evening, we learned that the Braves were considering moving first baseman Freddie Freeman to third base when he returns from his wrist injury as a way to accommodate Freeman’s replacement Matt Adams, who has been nothing short of a phenomenal replacement.
The response to the potential move were highly skeptical, viewing it was a pie-in-the-sky strategy that would not actually come to fruition. Freeman spoke about it on Wednesday and showed that, in fact, the wheels are already turning to get him in shape to play the hot corner. Via the Braves’ Twitter account:
Freeman said he “felt pretty good” taking grounders at third base. He said he brought up the idea of moving to third base to keep Adams’ bat in the lineup. He had a meeting with president of baseball operations John Hart and GM John Coppolella, then met with manager Brian Snitker.
One reporter jokingly asked Freeman if he’d had a couple glasses of wine when he came up with the idea. Freeman replied, “No. Obviously it’s been a few years since I’ve played third base but hopefully I can take to it quickly and hopefully I can refresh my memory of doing it 10 years ago.”
Another reporter asked Freeman about the most important technique for which he needs a refresher. Freeman said, “For me, obviously, it’s charging. First base, you can kind of let the ball come to you and obviously you can’t do that at first base.”
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.