Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman out 10 weeks with fractured wrist

The Atlanta Braves received rough news Thursday as their star first baseman Freddie Freeman has a fractured left wrist and will likely miss 10 weeks.

In the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game between the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays, Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Loup hit Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman in the wrist with a pitch. The hit-by-pitch resulted in Freeman leaving the game.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that Freeman had a fractured left wrist and would likely miss extended time. The Braves confirmed the injury status of Freeman shortly after, placing him on the 10-day DL and announcing he would miss about 10 weeks.

Losing your team’s best player is one thing, but it plays a much bigger impact for an up-and-coming Braves team. The Braves continue to rebuild their club. With the stellar play from Freeman since 2016, replacing him is no easy task.

So far in 2017, Freeman owns a slash line of .341/.461/.748. Freeman has hit 14 home runs (tied for the league lead), knocked in 25 runs and scored 35 times. He does it all for the Braves. Freeman is tied with Houston Astros ace Dallas Keuchel and the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge with 2.5 bWAR this season.

After an abysmal April in 2016, Freeman proved he’s one of baseball’s best with his solid play from May to September. Last season, he hit .302/.400/.569 with career highs in home runs (34), hits (178), doubles (43) and runs (102). He also drove in 91 runs.

Even with his poor play throughout the first month of 2016, Freeman finished sixth in the NL MVP voting. Freeman’s strong start to 2017 made him an early MVP candidate in the NL.

The Braves now look for a first baseman to fill the void during Freeman’s absence. Jace Peterson replaced Freeman when he left Wednesday’s game. Peterson remains the only other potential first baseman on the Braves’ depth chart.

FanRag Sports reporter Jon Heyman wrote that the Braves might need to look at outside options available to play first while Freeman recovers. He brings up James Loney as a possible free agent that the Braves could pick up.

Loney played for the New York Mets in 2016. He hit .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs, 34 RBI and 30 runs in 100 games played.

Not only did Freeman leave the game with an injury on Wednesday, the benches also cleared twice during the game. The first incident occurred in the seventh inning when the Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar took offense to a quick pitch by the Braves’ Jason Motte that struck him out. The two players argued for a bit and the benches emptied.

The benches cleared again in the eighth inning after Jose Bautista bat-flipped and skipped around first after hitting a home run. Catcher Kurt Suzuki got into Bautista’s face when he crossed home plate.

Nothing serious happened from the benches-clearing occurrences. Nonetheless, this remains a storyline to look at in Thursday’s game between the two clubs.

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