Freeman can only laugh about his long single
As he sat at his locker after Friday’s 11-8 win over the Nationals, Freddie Freeman could laugh about a baserunning mistake that would have drawn widespread attention had it occurred amid a much more competitive setting.
After appearing to hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, Freeman was ruled out because he passed Joe Thurston, who who was preparing to tag up in case the ball did not clear the right field wall.
By the time the ball landed in the Braves bullpen, Freeman had passed Thurston and been ruled out. Instead of being awarded a three-run shot, the 20-year-old first baseman was left with a two-run single.
“Thurston was tagging and he didn’t have much room,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He went by him. That should never happen, but it happens.”
Freeman simply said, “I can laugh about it because this is Spring Training.”
Jurrjens update: Cox said Jurrjens will begin throwing live batting practice on Sunday. It appears Jurrjens could make his Grapefruit League season debut on Thursday against the Yankees in Tampa.
Filling Jurrjens’ spot, Kris Medlen will start against the Astros tomorrow afternoon in Kissimmee.
Bullpen watch: Relievers are bound to have at least one bad outing during Spring Training. But it’s safe to say Jesse Chavez didn’t want to have two in a span of his four days of playing games with the Braves.
Chavez issued a pair of one-out walks and then allowed an Ian Desmond sixth-inning grand slam on Friday afternoon. During the 2 2/3 innings he’s worked so far in Grapefruit League season, he has allowed six earned runs and issued four walks.
While it’s not time to write Chavez off yet, there’s certainly reason to no longer consider him a favorite to win one of the final two available bullpen spots. But the Pirates reporters who were here yesterday said the 26-year-old reliever also struggled during Spring Training last year before being a surprise addition to Pittsburgh’s Opening Day roster.
During tomorrow’s game against the Astros in Kissimmee, Craig Kimbrel and Kyle Cofield are scheduled to pitch. Both are strong-armed relievers who could find their way to Atlanta at some point this year. But for now, it appears both need to work on their control at the Minor League level.
Earlier this week an American League scout said that Coffield has a lot of potential.
“He doesn’t know where the ball is going, but I love his stuff,” the scout said. “He reminds me of John Smoltz. But he’s got to work on his control.”