Freddie Freeman takes swings, nears rehab assignment

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Freddie Freeman’s absence with a right wrist injury has dragged on longer than the Braves originally expected, but he’s finally making some progress.

According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Freeman “felt great” after hitting off a tee and taking two rounds of soft-toss today. The hope right now is that he’ll be ready to begin a minor league rehab assignment within the next day or two.

Freeman has been sidelined since June 17 with what was originally referred to as a bone bruise. However, he has also dealt with tendon and ligament inflammation. He was given a platelet-rich plasma injection after being placed on the disabled list and recently received two cortisone shots in addition to having fluid removed. That doesn’t sound like much fun.

The Braves have gone 11-15 with Freeman on the disabled list and not surprisingly, his bat has been missed in a big way. The team is batting just .235/.304/.362 so far this month.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).