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The Daily Chop: Freddie Freeman’s slow start, Max Fried sharp

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Freeman and several Braves’ regulars are off to slow starts at the plate in Grapefruit League play.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

There is just over a week remaining in Grapefruit League play and the Atlanta Braves are still waiting on several of their hitters to catch fire. Freddie Freeman (3-for-23), Marcell Ozuna (5-for-25) and Austin Riley (5-for-21) have all struggled in the small sample. Ronald Acuña Jr. is just 5-for-31 but has a .741 OPS thanks to a double and three homers. All signs still point to Cristian Pache being the team’s Opening Day center fielder, but he is just 2-for-23.

Brian Snitker was asked about Freeman’s struggles Sunday, but he says he is not worried about any of the group.

“He smoked that ball two days ago to left field,” Snitker said. “I’m not worried about those guys. They have put together too many really good years and they’re elite hitters.”

While spring stats do not matter in the big picture, you would still like to see Freeman and the rest of the Braves’ regulars start to round into shape over the next week.

More Braves News

Max Fried allowed one run over six strong innings while Dansby Swanson and William Contreras homered in an 11-1 win over Tampa Bay.

Atlanta still has not announced their starter for Opening Day but Fried looks like the odds on favorite after Sunday’s performance. Ehire Adrianza added two more hits and appears to be separating himself from the pack in the bench competition.

Braves Podcasts

Grant McAuley and Ben Ingram preview the Braves outfield for 2021 on the latest episode of From The Diamond.

MLB News

J.T. Realmuto was scratched from Sunday’s Phillies lineup due to “general soreness” according to manager Joe Girardi. Realmuto now may make his 2021 debut Monday against the Yankees.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto was cleared to return to Spring Training Sunday after a bout with COVID-19. Votto tested positive on March 10. He will remain on the injured list for the time being but can rejoin his teammates and play in Cactus League games.

The Kansas City Royals agreed to a four-year, $82 million contract extension with catcher Salvador Perez. The $82 million is a franchise record eclipsing Alex Gordon’s $72 million deal that was signed in 2014.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that that the Mets are willing to go to the $300 million level to lock up shortstop Francisco Lindor. He

The Royals are reassigning shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. to minor league camp thus, ending his bid to make the team’s Opening Day roster. Witt was impressive this spring and Royals GM Dayton Moore recently said he was “open-minded” about Witt breaking camp with the club, but Witt will likely be headed now to Double-A.

Diamondbacks’ reliever Tyler Clippard has a capsule strain in his throwing shoulder and is expected to be sidelined about six weeks.