The Braves have activated Freddie Freeman from the disabled list and he will start at third base tonight, the team announced (Twitter links). Jace Peterson has been optioned to Triple-A in the corresponding move.
[Updated Braves depth chart at Roster Resource]
Freeman was expected to miss between 8-10 weeks of action when he originally suffered his fractured left wrist in mid-May. That devastating prognosis seemingly sealed the Braves’ fate as deadline sellers and led to the club acquiring Matt Adams from the Cardinals as a short-term fill-in for Freeman at first base.
Instead, there has been no shortage of surprises associated with Atlanta’s first base situation. Adams exploded once joining the Braves, hitting .285/.333/.589 with 12 homers in 165 PA as the everyday first baseman. Adams’ emergence led to the news that the Braves were considering using Freeman at third base, which Freeman embraced even though he hasn’t manned the hot corner since his high school days, over a decade ago.
If Freeman is able to play even passable third base defense and Adams is able to continue his hot hitting, the Braves would suddenly have a very strong corner infield combination as they try to stay on the outskirts of the playoff race. Atlanta is 18-11 over its last 29 games, improving to 40-41 on the season and 8.5 games behind the Nationals in the NL East and seven games out of a wild card spot. It’d still be a longshot if the Braves firmly got themselves back into the race, but getting Freeman back so much earlier than expected is unquestionably a major boost. Freeman was on an MVP-level pace prior to his injury, hitting .341/.461/.748 with 14 home runs over his first 165 plate appearances.