LAKELAND, Fla. -- Freddie Freeman had few concerns about his right knee when he returned to the Braves' lineup on Tuesday. By the time he had compiled three at-bats and played 5 1/2 innings during Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Tigers, the 22-year-old first baseman felt that he had passed all of the necessary tests.
Freeman singled, walked and struck out during his three plate appearances on Wednesday. More importantly, he had a chance to stretch to pick a low throw at first base. This was the action he was performing on Feb. 28, when his right kneecap briefly popped out of place.
"That was the last thing on the agenda," Freeman said. "I came up and everything was fine."
Freeman will travel to Sarasota on Thursday and play during one of the split-squad games scheduled for Friday. After playing four straight days, he will likely get a chance to rest on Saturday.
"I'm not worried about him anymore," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Some days are going to be better than others as far as the knee is concerned. But I'm not worried about it."
Beachy willing to learn from early mistakes
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brandon Beachy has always been his own harshest critic. Even when he was called out of the instructional league to make the first three starts of his Major League career late in the 2010 season, it seemed like he would not be satisfied with anything short of perfection.
But after allowing consecutive one-out walks to haunt him during a four-run second inning in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Tigers, Beachy seemed satisfied. There's no doubt he would have liked better results in his debut. But the 25-year-old Braves pitcher has come to understand this is the time of year to learn from mistakes.
"At this point last year, if I go out and do this, I'm at a totally different place in my mind," Beachy said. "Today, I felt good. I think that is the number one thing when you go out there the first time."
Had Beachy been competing for the final rotation spot like he was at this time last year, he would have been much harder on himself after he retired the first four Tigers he faced and then issued consecutive one-out walks. Making the walks to Delmon Young and Alex Avila more frustrating was the fact that he had been ahead of both with an 0-2 count.
Ryan Strieby followed the walks with an RBI single and then scored when Ryan Raburn smoked a fastball to deep center field for a two-run triple. Beachy said his fastball command was a problem during the second inning.
"That's what got him in trouble last year, those kinds of innings," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I know it was his first outing and everything, but that's what we need to get past."
Beachy was pleased that he consistently got ahead in the count and that he was comfortable with both his changeup and curveball.
"I like him a lot," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's very impressive. That second inning, he just got some balls up and walked a couple guys and Raburn jumped on one. He got one down in the hitting zone for Raburn, and he hit it pretty good. It was just a matter of him getting the ball up, out over the plate. He was probably fighting his control a little bit. He's really good."
Braves aren't counting Heyward's spring numbers
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez understands there is a lot of interest surrounding Jason Heyward as he attempts to rebound from a disappointing season. But Gonzalez said he sees no value in providing daily updates about how his 22-year-old right fielder is progressing.
The Braves entered Spring Training knowing that it would likely take Heyward some time to gain comfort while facing live pitching again, and attempting to utilize the adjustments he made this winter. This seems to be proving true as he has just one hit in his first 11 at-bats of the Grapefruit League season.
"I see good at-bats and I see good swings at times," Gonzalez said. "It's just something he's going to have to keep working at. He's almost there. Hopefully he doesn't worry about the numbers."
Heyward went hitless in two at-bats and drew a walk during Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Tigers. He struck out looking in the fourth inning and lined out to right field in the sixth.
"Our job as coaches is to get him to not worry about 0-for-4 or 0-for-3 right now," Gonzalez said. "This is Spring Training. We just need him to keep going to where he has to be."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.