"I got here in the bottom of the second, ran into the hot tub, got on the bike and got down in the dugout," Freeman said. "I was just ready to go, trying to be here and I got here as quick as I could."
The All-Star first baseman went on the DL on June 23 with a bruised right wrist after suffering the injury on June 17, and he was initially expected back for Thursday's series opener at Philadelphia next week.
Freeman homered for the Braves' Rookie League Gulf Coast team on Friday while going 2-for-4 in his first game action since the injury. He was scheduled to play there again Saturday, but the game was rained out and Freeman began making phone calls about the possibility of making a quicker-than-anticipated return.
"Obviously, it was a little earlier than expected, but that's just me pushing it," Freeman said. "The hand doesn't hurt at all, so I thought after yesterday's game when I made it through with no pain, 'Let's see if we can push the envelope,' and they kindly accepted."
Freeman was hitting .299 with 12 home runs before the injury, and his return comes at an opportune time after the team parted ways with offensive producers Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson on Friday night in a deal with the Mets.
Their departures did not affect the timing of Freeman's activation, manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
"I think it was just a matter of Freeman feeling pretty good," he said. "The plan was originally [for him to return in] Philadelphia, and then he started feeling pretty good, then it was Baltimore. Then he went 2-for-4 with a home run, so it's good to have him."
To make room for Freeman, the Braves optioned Joey Terdoslavich to Triple-A Gwinnett. Terdoslavich hit .133 in 15 games while Freeman was out.
The Braves went 13-17 in 30 games without Freeman, averaging 2.8 runs per game during that stretch, compared to the 4.0 runs per game they averaged with Freeman during the season's first 76 games.
"Hopefully we can start getting some runs going [Sunday] on [Cardinals pitcher Michael] Wacha," Freeman said. "Obviously it's another tough assignment, but hopefully we're up for the challenge and I can go back out there and get some good at-bats and get back on the right track."