ATLANTA -- One game did not erase the frustration that has mounted during this season's first three weeks. But while raising his batting average to .190 with a pair of hits in Saturday night's 8-2 loss to the Mets, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman gained further reason to believe he might be near the end of his funk.
"It's been a work in progress," said Freeman, who notched both hits off Mets left-hander Steven Matz. "It's been slowly but surely coming. I wish it would have come a little faster. I only seem to be able to hit lefties right now. But I'll take them when I get them."
Minus Wednesday's four-strikeout game against the Dodgers, Freeman has spent most of this past week providing signs that he is feeling more comfortable with his swing and regaining some of the bat speed that he's recently lacked.
Much of Freeman's frustration has been aimed at not being able to pull or center pitches that he easily handled before he spent most of last season's final four months dealing with right wrist discomfort. He's physically healthy, but over the past week he admits that from a mental perspective he might have been subconsciously protecting his wrist and consequently losing some of the violent hand whip that routinely accompanied his swings in the past.
Everything appeared to be back to normal Saturday, when Freeman smacked a fourth-inning RBI double. He went down to get Matz's 0-2 slider and produced a 98-mph exit velocity while aggressively getting his hands through the swing and sending the baseball toward the right-field corner.
Freeman also punched out twice to increase his season strikeout total to 20 through 70 plate appearances. But as he hit .273 (9-for-33) over his past eight games, he has certainly felt better about his swing than he had when he hit .080 (2-for-25) in the eight games that preceded this recent streak.
"I've been swinging and missing a lot and fouling a lot of balls off," Freeman said. " But, it's a work in progress. So, it was nice to throw a couple out there today."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.