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The Daily Chop: Freddie Freeman mum on extension talks, Ronald Acuña Jr. update and more

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Freeman says that discussing an extension during the season would be a distraction.

Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Coming into the 2021 season, one of the big storylines that we expected to play out quickly was Freddie Freeman’s contract status with the Atlanta Braves. Freeman is in the final year of his deal and although both sides have expressed interest in getting a deal done, it has not happened yet.

Freeman was asked again about his contract status and the state of negotiations prior to Tuesday’s series opener in New York and indicated that he is not interested in negotiating an extension during the season saying that it would be a distraction.

“I don’t know if we could really even talk right now,” Freeman said. “That would be a distraction, and I don’t like distractions.

“There are no negotiations,” Freeman added. “I’m worried about Taillon tonight, and that’s about it.”

Freeman did not seem to be interested in talking about the contract extension with the media and that isn’t terribly surprising. The assumption is that a deal will eventually get finished and will likely come without any forewarning. Still, if the Braves allow Freeman to reach free agency, they could be taking a huge chance that could put them in a spot where they do not want to be. I don’t think there is any reason for concern yet but it appears that this storyline is going to be sticking around a lot longer than was originally expected.

Injury Updates

As expected, Ronald Acuña Jr. was out of the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Yankees. With an off day Thursday, it would not be surprising to see the Braves sit Acuña on Wednesday as well and then reevaluate him before Friday’s home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, Brian Snitker was not prepared to commit to that saying they would see how Acuña feels on Wednesday before making a decision.

“We’ll see,” Snitker said. “He is day to day. We’ll just see how he feels tonight and tomorrow.”

Snitker also said that injured reliever Chris Martin has been cleared to start playing catch. He is still a ways away from throwing off a mound but this is the first step towards getting him back.

More Braves News put together a stat for all 30 teams that stands out over the first part of the season. For Atlanta, they entered Tuesday with a 43.6% hard-hit rate which was the second best mark in the Majors. Additionally, their .358 xwOBA is tops in the league. Don’t be surprised if this offense starts to put up numbers soon.

FanGraphs’ Kevin Goldstein takes a closer look at Ian Anderson and notes some changes in the vertical movement of his fastball as compared to last season.

Ken Rosenthal mentions in his latest notes column at The Athletic that the Braves are among the teams that have shown interest in veteran free agent starter Anibal Sanchez.

Atlanta also agreed to a minor league deal with veteran right hander Jesse Chavez in the last few days.

MLB News

Representatives from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association met Tuesday for their first official negotiating session according to a report by ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The meeting was held over videoconference and reportedly included several dozen people.

Unable to latch on with a Major League club, Yasiel Puig is planning to sign with Veracruz of the Mexican League according to a report by ESPN’s Enrique Rojas.

The Cincinnati Reds placed infielder Mike Moustakas on the 10-day injured list. Moustakas hasn’t played since April 14 due to what was called a non-COVID-illness but there was no clear reason as to why he was placed on the injured list at this time.

X-Rays on Mookie Betts’ right forearm came back negative but he was out of the lineup on Tuesday night. Betts was hit by a pitch in the forearm during Monday’s loss to the Mariners.

Nationals outfielder Juan Soto was placed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday due to a left shoulder strain. Washington recalled outfielder Yadiel Hernandez to take Soto’s place on the active roster.

Finally, veteran infielder Neil Walker is calling it a career after 12 seasons in the majors. Walker announced his retirement on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.