The Atlanta Braves had feared for the worst and that news was confirmed this afternoon. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman has a fractured left wrist and is headed to the disabled list. While the exact timetable for recovery is unknown, FoxSports' Ken Rosenthal first broke the story and reports the injury will keep him out at least eight weeks.
So far this season, Freeman was having an MVP caliber year, the best of his young career. As the franchise cornerstone in Atlanta, this is a huge blow to the team and the fans. While the team may still be rebuilding, it's never easy to lose your best player for any amount of time. If there is a silver lining to the news for Atlanta, early reports are that Freeman will not need surgery, so that should help getting him back on the field quicker. However, that still likely puts his return sometime in early August.
Freeman, 27, was slashing .341/.461/.748 with 14 home runs so far this season before exiting last night's game. He was well on his way to his third All-Star selection in a crowded pool at first base within the National League. Likely out until late July, or more than likely early August, this is a huge blow to an Atlanta team that is currently sitting at 16-21 and second place in the NL East.
There are no contingency plans for injured superstars. One of the best hitters in all of baseball is not easily replaced and the so far the Braves have not announced what they plan to do going forward. Atlanta does not have a logical replacement for Freeman on its current roster, so they may look outside the organization for a fill in. Jace Peterson moved to first base last night after Freeman exited, but he mainly played second, third, short and even some outfield. The Braves could look to several players fill the void, including veterans Matt Kemp, Nick Markakis, and Tyler Flowers, though none are first basemen by trade.
Another potential option for Atlanta is to promote from within. Third base prospect Rio Ruiz has been on a tear in the month of May at AAA Gwinnett. It has been expected that he will be called up to take Freeman's spot on the roster and move across the diamond for now. He will certainly be a work in progress over at first, but the Braves organization is high on him, so giving him a chance at extended playing time, albeit at a different position than he is used to, may be the best option going forward. For now, the Braves are in a waiting pattern, but expect to hear news shortly on any moves. https://twitter.com/KevinMcAlpin/status/865286078739214336