The saga that was Freddie Freeman’s 2019 season has been well chronicled at this point. In the second half of the season, Freddie saw his production drop off over time and it was revealed that he was dealing with a bone spur in his right elbow that was causing him significant pain. Fast forward to the end of the season where he missed some time, played in a series against the Mets that it sounds like he shouldn’t have, and struggled in the playoffs with the injury because, frankly, the Braves didn’t have a better option at first base than an injured Freddie Freeman.
This offseason seemed to be a turning point for Freddie, though. He had surgery in October that showed that the injury was worse than anyone thought, but he was finally going to be rid of the issue. He came into camp saying that he hadn’t felt as good as he did and that he was going to be good to go. He was also very candid in recent days with The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz about his struggles with the injury which raised as many questions as it answered.
As it turns out, though, Freddie isn’t exactly 100%.
Freddie Freeman has been scratched from today's lineup with right elbow inflammation.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) February 25, 2020
Lets get this out of the way: it is highly doubtful that Freddie has another, secret bone spur or injury that didn’t get repaired by his procedure this offseason. It isn’t uncommon for those that have a surgical procedure to experience inflammation once they ramp back up their physical use of the impacted area. It was probably always a bit optimistic to think that there wouldn’t be any rest or soreness and managing that in spring training is a good idea rather than letting him play through pain again unnecessarily.
However, this isn’t exactly good news, either. A completely healthy Freddie Freeman is better than a not healthy one and the Braves’ fortunes this season rest heavily on the health and production of the top four hitters in their lineup. If Freddie’s elbow continues to give him problems into the season, it would put a greater need for guys like Dansby Swanson and Johan Camargo/Austin Riley to keep the offense going until Freddie gets right.
In short, there is no need to panic just yet as scratching guys as precautions in spring training is to be expected, but this isn’t exactly great news, either.