4/26/2014 1:07 A.M. ET
Freeman says right eye discomfort is gone
By Mark Bowman and Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman returned to Turner Field on Friday confident that he would no longer have to deal with the right eye discomfort that plagued him as he struggled throughout the Marlins series earlier this week.
"When I woke up this morning, it didn't feel like there was a crumpled up piece of paper in my eye like it has been," Freeman said. "Everything feels good today."
Freeman felt some dryness in his eyes as he took batting practice before last Saturday's game against the Mets at Citi Field. He ignored the problem as he notched three hits that evening. But Freeman went 1-for-5 the next afternoon and then felt his right contact lens break while it was still in his eye just before Monday night's series opener against the Marlins.
Freeman said the Braves' medical staff used a Q-Tip to locate and remove the broken contact lens from his eye approximately seven minutes before Monday's first pitch. This likely added to the irritation he felt as he went 0-for-12 with six strikeouts during the three-game series against the Marlins. He had batted .397 with nine strikeouts in the 81 plate appearances he had compiled before Monday.
After going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Tuesday's matchup against Jose Fernandez and the Marlins, Freeman visited Dr. David Ross, who had treated Freeman when he dealt with dry eyes throughout May during the 2012 season.
"It's very frustrating," Freeman said. "I thought I had put the eye problems in my past and gotten behind it. It's just one of those things that I'm going to have to battle the first few months of every season with the cold and the wind. If we can just manage it the rest of my career, I think we'll be OK. I think we caught it quick enough. This is a lot better than two years ago.
"Two years ago, I couldn't see with my glasses on. Now, I can see with my glasses on. Everything feels good. I feel great today and hopefully I can get some results."
B.J. Upton wears glasses for first time in career
ATLANTA -- Braves center fielder B.J. Upton assumed a studious look as he wore glasses for the first time in his career during Friday night's 5-4 win over the Reds. He exited the victory with some confidence that the prescription lenses will help him escape the struggles he has experienced since coming to Atlanta last year.
Upton has been told he should wear glasses while driving at night dating back to his high-school days. But it was not until the conclusion of Wednesday afternoon's game against the Marlins that he decided he would spend a portion of Thursday's off-day getting a pair of glasses that he could wear during games.
"I noticed a difference [in my vision] over last year and some of this year," Upton said. "It wasn't anything big. But I think it was enough for me to not really pick up spin on the ball. So I just figured we should try something."
Upton was pleased with the results that he garnered as he went 1-for-4 during Friday's win. He hit a sharp infield single that Reds third baseman Todd Frazier prevented from going down the left-field line in the first inning. In his next at-bat, he lined out to center field.
"The first one I thought he rolled over," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It looked like he was going to make the turn thinking it was going to be a double. He made it closer than it should have been at first. The next one he hit, he hit it right on the nose. That's a good [at-bat]."
Upton has shown some signs of encouragement as he has batted .244 with a .358 on-base percentage in his past 12 games. This is certainly an improvement given what he provided last year, when he hit .184 with a .268 on-base percentage.
"I definitely noticed a difference tonight," Upton said. "We'll see how it goes."
Uggla applauds ball-transfer rule clarification
ATLANTA -- Braves second baseman Dan Uggla is not fond of rule changes, so count him among those who were happy when Major League Baseball announced Friday its decision to clarify the transfer rule that has come under scrutiny since replay was expanded this season.
Once a player makes a legal catch to apply a tag or execute a force out, the out stands even if the player drops the ball while opening his glove to transfer the ball to his throwing hand.
"I was happy to see that it was noticed," Uggla said. "I guess everybody agreed, even Major League Baseball agreed that it should've been left the way it was, and they changed it back. So, it was a good thing to see."
Uggla was among several Braves happy to see the transfer issue addressed promptly rather than waiting to deal with it. Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez felt the transfer play "looks worse than what it is" when it was reviewed under replay rules.
"I think that they realized that it was really kind of not working the way they wanted it to work," Gonzalez said. "Why not change it? We have that capability or the power to do it, and I do applaud Major League Baseball for doing that."
Uggla added: "It was great to see them step in right now. We would've continued to see the same things throughout the rest of the year if they didn't and see everybody getting upset every time it happened."
Now that MLB has clarified the transfer rule, Uggla is hoping to see a revision to the new home-plate collision rule, saying, "it should have been left alone."
Uggla trusts umpires to make the determination whether a runner is intending to hurt the catcher via collision. His main concern is when the momentum or direction of a throw to the plate takes the catcher into the basepath.
"If a throw takes the catcher across into the baseline in front of the plate and the runner is still 15-20 feet away, 5-10 feet away and automatically calls [the runner] safe because the throw took the catcher in front of home plate, I think that's just a bad rule," Uggla said.
Minor, Floyd making progress with rehab
ATLANTA -- Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd continue to work their way back to join a Braves rotation that leads the Majors with a 1.50 ERA entering Friday. Minor pitched for Double-A Mississippi on Friday, and Floyd pitched for Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday.
Minor gave up five earned runs on 10 hits that included four home runs in seven innings of work. He struck out two and threw 81 pitches, 58 of which were strikes.
Floyd made the first of what Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said would include at least two more starts in the Minors before he will be re-evaluated. Minor is expected to return to Atlanta's rotation some time next week.
Gonzalez will likely need to decide what to do with the rotation four or five days after Floyd's next rehab start on Tuesday.
"It always takes care of itself," Gonzalez said. "I'm not really going to worry about it until that time comes."
Floyd threw 86 pitches in 5 1/3 innings, fanning one and giving up two runs on five hits and three walks against Columbus on Thursday. He will make his next start with Gwinnett on the road in Toledo, Ohio, on Tuesday.
Following the outing, Floyd, who underwent Tommy John surgery last May, said he was just dealing with "normal soreness" in the scapula area of his right shoulder.
"The elbow feels great, the shoulder feels good, my body feels good, so I'm just excited," Floyd said. "Hopefully I'll go 100 [pitches] next time and see what happens. Things have been going pretty well."
Floyd is thankful his rehab process is going well given the uncertainty and unpredictability of recovery from Tommy John surgery, but there have been challenges along the way.
Returning to game situations has proven the most challenging to Floyd during his rehab process. He has pitched 19 innings and owns a 4.74 ERA in five rehab starts between Gwinnett and Mississippi this season.
"It's just getting used to runners on and refining things again and working on slide steps, working on holds, working on little things that come into game situations," Floyd said. "You get in a scenario where you're bases loaded and maybe there's an out or no outs and you're trying to figure out how you get a ground ball here and executing pitches, staying mentally focused. Just the little things that in a game and through the season that you have to be good at and trying to get those back and refine those."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.