05/26/12 8:45 PM ET
Freeman scratched late Saturday vs. Nats
By Mark Bowman and Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
Freeman, who went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in Friday's series opener, has been bothered by dry eyes for the last few weeks, and missed Thursday's game at Cincinnati because of the issue. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he made the decision to sit Freeman on Saturday after watching him take batting practice.
"I was watching him taking BP, and he was getting frustrated, and I said, 'You know what, forget it,'" Gonzalez said. "Hopefully we'll get him tomorrow. Maybe at night it'll be a little better."
Freeman said his eye problems have hampered him over the last couple weeks. Whether he's at first base or in the batter's box, he said he sees two balls flying at him and has been reduced to guessing which one was real.
Friday, Freeman got new contacts and glasses he can wear during games, but they haven't solved the problem yet. Gonzalez said the Braves will have to be patient as the remedies take effect.
"It's one of those things that we want instant reaction, 'Give me a pill and I want to get better right now,'" Gonzalez said. "It's going to be a couple days for that medicine and those contacts and all that stuff with his eyes to work. I think we're now in a generation where it's 'Fix me, and fix me right now.'
"He's trying to get in there."
Eric Hinkse replaced Freeman in the lineup Saturday. Hinske went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Braves' catching situation remains in flux
ATLANTA -- When the Braves opted to promote catcher J.C. Boscan from Triple-A Gwinnett, they were not expecting to immediately put him into their starting lineup to face the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg. But after Brian McCann proved too sick to be in the starting lineup on Saturday afternoon, they were left with no other choice.
McCann was strong enough to pop out during a pinch-hit appearance that ended Saturday's 8-4 loss to the Nationals. But it was apparent that he did not have the energy to do much more.
"I thought he was going to die when he got to first base last night," Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche said, giving a sense of how bad McCann felt after he was forced to play the final seven innings of Friday night's loss.
Wanting to allow McCann to regain the energy he had lost while missing the previous three days with a fever caused by what appears to be a virus, the Braves did not want to play McCann on Friday night. But they were forced to do so when backup catcher David Ross was forced to exit in the second inning with what appears to be a minor right groin strain.
"He felt [bad] ... and he looked terrible after the game," Ross said of McCann. "I mean, really bad. He grinded it out and grinded through it. So I felt [bad] for me and for him yesterday. Hopefully, we can get this little injury bug thing out of here and move on."
Boscan was promoted to fill the roster spot opened when the Braves were forced to place Chipper Jones on the disabled list with a severely bruised left calf. The 32-year-old catcher, who has spent virtually his entire career in the Minors, will remain at the big league level until the Braves are confident they can rely on McCann and Ross.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez's worst fear began to materialize as McCann's energy level steadily decreased during the final stages of Friday's game.
"He really struggled to catch the last couple of innings, so much so that I told [umpire Doug Eddings], 'Keep an eye on him. If you feel like he's going to faint on you or something, let me know.'"
Still Gonzalez hopes McCann will regain enough energy to return to the lineup for Sunday night's game against the Nationals. Encouraged by the way he felt on Saturday, Ross said he believes he could be ready to play again within the next few days.
Ross made an immediate exit after he felt a pop when he checked his swing while looking at ball four against Ross Detwiler in Friday's second inning. He likened the discomfort to the minor strains he experienced during Spring Training in 2009 and '10.
"It was like a big pop that I felt when I stopped my bat," Ross said. "It just grabbed right away It was the same injury I had in Spring Training my first year here [in 2009]. [Trainer Jeff Porter] thinks it might be a little scar tissue that has just let go. The muscle was spasm-ing pretty good yesterday. It's sore, but it doesn't kill me."
Prado may shift to third in Chipper's absence
ATLANTA -- With Braves third baseman Chipper Jones on the disabled list with a severely bruised left calf, manager Fredi Gonzalez said Martin Prado may have to move from left field to third base until Jones returns. Gonzalez made it clear, however, that Prado will play one position, not alternate between left field and third base.
"I'm not going to go back and forth," Gonzalez said. "I'm not going to do that to him."
Last year, Prado often alternated between starting in left field and at third base. Gonzalez said he thinks not having a defined position hurt Prado's production at the plate.
"Martin is a guy that likes routines," Gonzalez said. "He's a routine-oriented guy. And I'm not saying that's the whole thing there, but I'm thinking that's [part of it]."
Prado started the All-Star Game as the National League's second baseman in 2010. He hit .307 with 15 home runs that season. Prado's offensive production dipped last season as he moved to left field and also played third base occasionally. He also spent six weeks on the disabled list with a staph infection.
Prado has primarily served as the Braves' left fielder this year, and has returned to being one of their best hitters. He leads the team in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
If the Braves opted to put Prado at third base, left field would likely become a platoon between Eric Hinske and Matt Diaz.
Juan Francisco is the Braves' other option at third base until Jones returns. Since Jones was hurt last Friday, Francisco has played all but one game at third base. He is 4-for-23 (.174) with two home runs in that stretch.
Prado is considered to be a better defender than Francisco, who has made four errors in 22 games this season. According to John Dewan's defensive-runs saved statistic, Prado has saved 20 runs in his career at third base. Francisco, meanwhile, has cost his team two runs in one-third as many innings.
Still, Gonzalez said it may be Francisco's offense that ultimately sways his choice.
"Francisco can help make that decision," Gonzalez said. "Usually the bat does a lot of talking."
Matt Diaz has been weakened the past few days by heavy congestion and a very sore throat. He battled through Friday night's two-hit performance and then got a chance to rest on Saturday.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.