Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman departed Friday’s game against the Nationals with right elbow soreness, the team announced. It’s not clear whether or not Freeman sustained a serious injury, but the decision has been framed as a precautionary one for now.
The 30-year-infielder weathered two at-bats against the Nationals’ Max Scherzer, going 0-for-2 with a line out and a strikeout in the first and third innings, respectively. He was replaced in the bottom of the fourth inning by Charlie Culberson, who stepped in at first base for his sixth appearance this month.
It’s been an impressive year for Freeman, who earned his fourth career All-Star distinction in July and has maintained a hefty .302/.392/.566 batting line with 38 home runs, a league-best 117 RBI, and 4.2 fWAR through 653 plate appearances. While there’s no firm diagnosis yet, this may be the first setback for the veteran, who has remained remarkably injury-free over the last two years and hasn’t seen a stint on the injured list since the summer of 2017.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.