MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported tonight that Braves' All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, which is now just a week away. Freeman has been away from the team since testing positive for COVID-19 on July 3.
Bowman reported that Freeman has been feeling good for the past 10 days after dealing with a fever at the onset of his infection. He cannot rejoin the team until he produces two negative tests at least 24 hours apart from each other.
Even if Freeman were to produce those negative tests before next Friday, it's unlikely that he would be able to get in shape and prepared for the season in that short amount of time. Since he's been away from the organization, he's been able to get some work in at home, but he hasn't been able to see live pitching in a while, and putting him in a game this soon would not be a good idea.
The Braves have a few options at first base until Freeman returns; Johan Camargo, Austin Riley and Adeiny Hechavarria are all players that can fit in at first.
Hechavarria, who is listed at first base on the Braves' depth chart but has mostly played second base and shortstop, batted .241 last season, which he split between the Mets and Braves. He hit .328 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in 24 games with Atlanta. Riley and Camargo each saw significant playing time for the Braves last season, although neither hit over .233. They each saw some time at first base last year.
None of those options will be a great replacement for Freeman, who hit .295 last season with 38 home runs and 121 RBIs. Hopefully for the Braves' sake, they're able to get Freeman back sooner than later.
Matthew Atkins, Journalist and Baseball fan.