Braves GM discusses placing Freeman on DL

DENVER -- For two weeks, Freddie Freeman has been counting down the days to Monday, April 22nd. It's the day he was eligible to come off the disabled list, and although Freeman was raring to go, Mother Nature had other plans, dropping snow and cold temperatures in Colorado and forcing a postponement until Tuesday.

"I'm off the DL, that's all," Freeman said. "I'll wait 'til tomorrow. I feel great. Healthy, happy to be here. Those last 15 days have been hard watching the team on TV. It's just nice to be here."

Freeman went on the DL with a strained right oblique on April 7, and after a three-game rehab with Triple-A Gwinnett, he's ready to return with no restrictions. The Braves optioned David Carpenter to Triple-A on Monday to make room on the roster for Freeman.

"Freeman was playing," manager Fredi Gonzalez said of his plan to start his first baseman in the series opener Monday. "He's good."

Before his injury, the Braves clean-up hitter was off to a torrid start, hitting .412 (7-for-17) with a double, a homer, and seven RBIs in five games.

"Hopefully we can get back on the winning ways tomorrow," Freeman said. "We're facing [Jeff] Francis. Hopefully we can get out there and get rolling again. It was a tough series in Pittsburgh, but we're going to have those during the year."

It's the Braves first trip back to Denver since Freeman suffered from corneal abrasions as a result of "dry eyes" aggravated by dry and windy conditions at Coors Field last May. After missing several weeks with blurred vision, he finally found contact lenses that wouldn't aggravate him, and has employed a special pair of sports goggles he wears in the field.

"I didn't even know where we were playing, I just knew it was April 22nd when I was coming off," Freeman said. "I was just counting down those days. I didn't know we were here until last week, and then I saw. I was kind of excited, and then I was like, 'Oh man, that's where my eyes went bad.' Hopefully the wind dies down and I can get through the series okay."

Freeman was bubbling over with enthusiasm, eager to get back in the lineup and help his club resume their pace-setting start to the season.

"I had the rehab games, I felt great, and I'm here," Freeman said. "I had no pain, no restrictions, and I've been letting it fly the last couple of days."

Uggla hoping to play both of Tuesday's games

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DENVER -- After spending Sunday resting his tight left calf, Braves second baseman Dan Uggla is ready to get back on the field -- even if it's a cold and snowy Coors Field doubleheader. With a snow-out Monday, the second day of rest should only help Uggla.

"It feels good," Uggla said of his calf, which tightened up in the middle of Saturday's game in Pittsburgh. "I'm pretty good about managing stuff and knowing my limitations, so it allows me to come back maybe a little earlier than you're supposed to, but you still have to be disciplined enough to know how far you can take it."

Manager Fredi Gonzalez was playing Monday by ear, and was reluctant to start Uggla on a bad-weather day and equally hesitant to use him on both ends of Tuesday's day-night doubleheader.

"If we were going to play and it was wet, I wasn't going to play him with the calf thing," Gonzalez said. "I think Danny won't play two games, because he's coming off that calf thing. I think that's a smart thing. He comes out of the game because he had a little calf thing and all of a sudden you make him play 18 innings. I don't think that's smart."

Uggla may not have known Gonzalez's plans yet, but he said he'd be disappointed if he didn't play both games and would definitely try and talk his way into both lineups.

"There's no reason for me not to play both games," Uggla said. "I feel good and I'm ready to go."

Aside from his personal drive to get back in action, Uggla was one of those who wished the Braves could be back in action Monday after a tough weekend losing three straight in a four-game set with the Pirates.

"I always want to play," Uggla said. "Coming off the series in Pittsburgh, we definitely want to get on track."

Gonzalez mentioned a couple of other Braves who might not play both games, including his catchers and the Uptons, B.J. and Justin. Back-up catcher Gerald Laird has caught all of Julio Teheran's games, so he was set to catch the second game of the series, which will be the nightcap of Tuesday's split doubleheader. Justin Upton hasn't had a day off yet, though Gonzalez pointed out he got Monday off, thanks to the snow.