From the way he performed at the end of the year and into the playoffs, we knew Freddie Freeman wasn’t feeling like his typical self. He missed some time in September with an elbow injury and returned a shell of the man who was amid a career-year, leading to a 4-20 mark with 1 RBI in Atlanta’s series loss to St. Louis in five games. Of course, it’s not in Freeman’s nature to make excuses, but as we’ve furthered ourselves since that painful Game 5 debacle, more and more has come out showing just how far off Freeman was from 100%, and today’s news is the cherry on top.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com tweeted out an exchange between Freeman and Dr. David Altchek, the man who performed surgery to remove loose bodies in the star first baseman’s elbow after the season ended. Altchek told Freeman, “I don’t know how you were playing.” In which Freeman jokingly responded, “Well doc, I wasn’t playing very well.”
When Dr. David Altchek exited the October elbow surgery and said, “I don’t know how you were playing,” Freeman responded, “Well doc, I wasn’t playing very well.”
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 25, 2020
The Braves already entered the NLDS severely handicapped. Dansby Swanson wasn’t the same guy since he missed over a month with a heel injury. Johan Camargo was not available due to a broken shin. Charlie Culberson fractured his face. And Ender Inciarte missed the end of the year with a severe hamstring injury. Add Freeman to the list, and you start to realize it just wasn’t the Braves year.
There are going to be upset fans, saying things like, “He should have taken himself out; he cost the team.” And to you, I say shut up. There’s no way a competitor like Freeman, who is a vital piece to the team (if you think the Braves had a chance to win a World Series with Freddie out of the lineup, you’re nuts), was going to remove himself when needed most. That’s the kind of guy I want leading my team, and that’s why the Braves are going to make sure he ends his career with a tomahawk across his chest.
The good news is that, following the surgery, Freeman is feeling the best he’s felt in the last ten years.
#Braves’ Freeeman said he’s been “full bore” working out since last month, without pain for first time in 9 years after having 2 bone spurs and 3 fragments removed from elbow. Doc told him joint was completely closed before surgery and he didn’t know how he played through it….
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) January 25, 2020
One can hope that’s a sign of some better luck in 2020. The Braves seemed to have a player suffer a different injury every time out last year, starting in spring training with Mike Foltynewicz, Kevin Gausman, and Mike Soroka, and they still won 97 games. Imagine what this group can do somewhat healthy for 162+ games…