Braves being cautious with Freeman

Braves being cautious with Freeman

Braves being cautious with Freeman
PHILADELPHIA -- For the second time this week, Freddie Freeman was given the night off, but this time it had more to do with the fact that the rookie played in Tuesday night's game, which ended just past midnight ET, than the left hip flexor he's been battling.

"We got out of here around 2:15 or 2:20 [in the morning]," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "There were a couple of plays last night that concerned me. One was a stretch, and then the last ground ball up the middle in his last at-bat, he just didn't run real well.

"He says he's fine. I believe him, and I trust him, but you also have to use your better judgment."

Freeman's injury is not going to get better with just two or three days of rest. Gonzalez knows that it will take until December for the hip to be 100 percent. Then again, at this point in the season, the Braves don't have anyone who is 100 percent.

One thing is clear: Freeman is an important part of any success the Braves are going to have once, as expected, they reach the playoffs. Freeman leads all National League rookies with a .291 average, 144 hits, 64 RBIs and 29 doubles. He's second in home runs, with 18, and has 39 multihit games.

Entering Wednesday's game, the Braves trail the Phillies by 9 1/2 games in the National League East after dropping the first two games of the series, so Gonzalez was afforded the chance to pick and choose days to rest Freeman.

The concern isn't Freeman's hitting, as he still appears to be fluid, but when he runs or stretches in the field for a ball. Either way, he's only going to get a day off here and there.

"Every time he isn't in the lineup, he's in my office," Gonzalez said. "I prefer that. He wants to play, and that's one of the things I like about him. We just have to use our judgment [when it comes to giving him a rest]."