Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and right-hander Touki Toussaint have been cleared to rejoin the club, Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Both players have been out since July 4 because of positive coronavirus tests. Reliever Will Smith landed on the shelf when Freeman and Toussaint did, but he hasn’t been cleared yet, per David O’Brien of The Athletic.
It’s not known how long it will take for either Freeman or Toussaint to ramp up, though manager Brian Snitker said Thursday that the Braves hadn’t yet ruled out Freeman for the Braves’ season opener on July 24. Whether or not he plays then, it’s clear Freeman’s season debut should come sooner than later, which no doubt comes as an enormous relief for the team. After all, Freeman’s a four-time All-Star who continued his reign as one of the game’s most feared hitters last season.
Toussaint doesn’t carry that type of prestigious track record, having thrown 70 2/3 innings with a 4.97 ERA/4.49 FIP and 9.81 K/9 against 5.99 BB/9 since he first reached the majors in 2018. But the 24-year-old’s a former high-end prospect whose return is a welcome one considering the need for pitching in a pandemic-shortened season. And the Braves could use the depth with Smith’s status up in the air, injured lefty Cole Hamels unlikely to be available for the start of the season, and righty Felix Hernandez having opted out of the campaign.