Freeman takes BP, targets return date

Slugger aims to rejoin Braves from wrist rehab July 30

Freeman takes BP, targets return date

ATLANTA -- After taking batting practice on the field for the first time in more than a month, Freddie Freeman entered the Braves' dugout early Tuesday evening and said he hopes to be activated from the disabled list next week.

Freeman will arrive at the Braves' Spring Training complex on Wednesday and spend at least four days regaining some of the strength and stamina he has lost since being sidelined by a right wrist injury on June 18. The 25-year-old first baseman plans to begin a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. If all goes well, he could return to Atlanta's lineup for the July 30 series opener against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

"Now, it's just the waiting game," Freeman said. "I've got to go through the rehab process."

The past month has been mentally taxing on Freeman, who had played a Major League-best 243 consecutive games before he was placed on the disabled list. His right wrist discomfort lingered longer than expected, and he did not experience any relief until fluid was drained from his right hand last week.

Freeman's optimism grew as he hit off a tee and took some soft-toss swings in pain-free fashion on Monday. And he was further encouraged when he awoke Tuesday without any discomfort.

Any reservations the Braves might have had about Freeman were relieved as he did not show any hesitance or limitations when taking aggressive swings in the indoor batting cages and on the field before Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers.

"Today, I actually felt better than I did yesterday," Freeman said. "It's starting to feel close to 100 percent and I think we're really, really close."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.