Freeman sits out with scratches in both eyes
Braves first baseman healing quickly, expects to return soon
ATLANTA -- First baseman Freddie Freeman missed Tuesday's game against the Reds due to scratches in both eyes, which forced him to leave Monday's 3-1 loss to Cincinnati after the seventh inning.
Freeman visited Alan Kozarsky, the Braves' eye doctor, Monday night. Kozarsky gave Freeman antibiotic eye drops to heal the scratches. Freeman said he returned to Kozarsky on Tuesday and was told the scratch in his right eye has already healed. His left eye, however, remains inflamed.
"Everything is healing quickly, and that's the best news right now," Freeman said. "I'm going back tomorrow, and hopefully I'll have better news."
Freeman said he thinks the injury happened in Colorado, where the air was dry and the wind was blowing dust into his eyes. He has been dealing with the problem for about a week, but it finally became too much to self-treat Monday night.
"I put seven different [contacts] in a matter of three innings last night and I couldn't clean it up," Freeman said. "It wasn't the contacts' fault, but it was definitely something wrong with my eyes."
Freeman estimated his vision was about 80 percent overall Monday night but even worse at the plate, because the scratch on his right eye was directly in his line of sight. As a left-handed hitter, Freeman's right eye is closest to the pitcher. The scratch prevented him from being able to see the ball at the plate.
Freeman went 0-for-3 Monday.
"I couldn't really see the ball very good, so I was just up there swinging at the first pitch, praying," Freeman said. "I just came out for precautionary reasons."
Manager Fredi Gonzalez was optimistic about Freeman taking a day off. The Braves are in the midst of playing games in 20 straight days after an off-day last Thursday.
"He was going to get a day off anyway," Gonzalez said. "We'll use today as one of those days, and he'll be good to play the rest of the time until we get the next day off."
Freeman has only missed one game so far this season and is frustrated that he has to miss another. But he said he knows it is better to sit out once than for his eyes to get worse and cause him to miss an extended stretch.
"I'm a guy that, no matter what happens to me, I'm going to play every game," Freeman said. "It's unfortunate, but I'd rather miss one game than miss a lot and have my eyes get infected."
Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.