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Freeman proving to be everyday asset for Braves

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ST. LOUIS -- Freddie Freeman as baseball's next iron man? While Cal Ripken Jr. certainly has no reason to lose sleep over his record, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez didn't dismiss Freeman's ability -- and more important his desire -- to be in the lineup every day.

"It's a position that isn't really taxing," Gonzalez said of his first baseman before Saturday's game. "It's not like you're playing center field and going gap to gap or catching every day. It's a position that you can get away with, and we've had some off-days here and there. I can see him playing 162. He likes to play and that's good trait, a guy who likes to play every day."

Freeman was in the lineup on Sunday, and he has now started in all 42 games this season. He went 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs, giving him a .314 average to go along with eight home runs and 27 RBIs this season.

Freeman is used to a heavy workload. He played in 147 games the previous two seasons and logged 157 games in 2011.

And his glove at first is just as important as his bat for Atlanta's defense.

"We always talk about how good our defense is in the infield with [Andrelton] Simmons, but [Freeman] makes a big impact over there at first base," Gonzalez said. "The first base position gets overlooked a lot. They think they are these big guys who have hairy knuckles and are hitting the ball out of the ballpark, but if you look the teams who are leading in defense, they usually have a pretty good first baseman over there that can really help out."

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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