Pensacola Comes Back for Late Win

Justin Freeman finally took the mound again this month after missing a year from a shoulder injury. He made an MLB debut in 2012 and now he's back at Pensacola where he put up a strong campaign in 2012.

Pensacola was held to one run until they plated three in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull out a 4-2 win over visiting Chattanooga. The Wahoos fell behind early after giving up a couple of runs in the first but held the Lookouts in check the rest of the way. Devin Lohman got them on the board with a solo homer in the second to cut the lead in half. Rey Navarro started the game-winning rally by leading off with a double and scoring on a hit by Juan Silverio. Travis Mattair drove in the go-ahead runs with a two run double before he ended the inning trying to stretch it into a triple.

On the mound former Yankees prospect and Rule 5 pickup Mikey O'Brien started and allowed two runs on three hits/two walks in five innings for no decision. Elvin Ramirez relieved him with two scoreless frames before Justin Freeman tossed the final two for the win.

Freeman has allowed only one run over four outings and is sitting on a 1.80 ERA thus far this year. He must have had a thrill last season when some injuries with the Reds got him an MLB debut in April. Unfortunately it didn't last long because after he was touched up for a couple of runs he made only two appearances at Louisville before a shoulder injury ended his season.

Freeman passed the test at Pensacola back in 2012 when he spent a full season in the Blue Wahoo bullpen and finished with a sub-three ERA. He came back for a good start at Louisville last year before it ended after six appearances. He missed the first month of this year but now he's back to making a case to advance back up the pipeline.

He's a 5'11"/175# right-hander that came to the Reds from a 32nd round pick back in 2008 out of Kennesaw St. University. On the mound he brings a low-90's fastball, good slider, and an occasional changeup. He's a control pitcher with a walk rate of 2.1 per nine innings over his minor league career which is now in his seventh season.

Freeman is a survivor ever since his late-round selection. Now he's 27 years old and still in the same organization that drafted him six year ago. He didn't figure prominently into the Reds 2014 plans before the season but neither did the injuries that have ravaged their bullpen. That provided a spot on the opening day roster for Curtis Partch, another right-hander selected in a late round that also made his MLB debut last season during his seventh professional season. Freeman is no longer on the 40-man, but there's a lot of room in the bullpen and he could find his way back there if he continues to get batters out.


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