June 23, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) Braves slugger Freddie Freeman says his broken left wrist is healing much faster than expected.

After undergoing a CT scan and meeting Friday with team physician Dr. Gary Lourie, Freeman was told his wrist is 80-90 percent healed, up from 50 percent last week.

The improvement led Freeman to move up the timetable of his return from July 14, the day after the All-Star break against Arizona, to July 6 at NL East-leading Washington.

''They're all pretty shocked it got to that point, too, especially with me stressing it the last couple of days catching balls and all that stuff,'' he said. ''It's actually great news.''

Freeman's prognosis was a surprise, though maybe not as much as his announcement Wednesday that he's moving from first to third base to keep Matt Adams in the lineup.

Even so, Lourie's report was encouraging enough that Freeman was cleared to swing a bat for the first time since getting hit by a pitch on May 17. Freeman hopes to begin a three- to four-game rehab assignment next weekend.

''Everybody's been saying they really didn't think I was going to be back in eight to 10 weeks,'' he said. ''Obviously I had a different mindset going in to it. But we're just at two days over five weeks right now so I'm pretty ecstatic with how the recovery has gone.''

Freeman's adjustment to third base is a work in progress.

He met Thursday with close friend and former teammate Chipper Jones, the longtime star who manned the position for most of his 18-year big league career. Jones said the biggest adjustments would be throwing from different angles and mastering throws on slow rollers.

''I feel comfortable,'' Freeman said. ''I'm not going to tell you that I feel like I do at first base. I definitely don't. I'm not going to sugarcoat it, but I don't feel out of place. That's all I can ask for now, and the work has gone good.''

Freeman, who last year finished sixth in NL MVP voting, said that he's being fitted for a custom guard to cover his wrist when batting. He led the NL with 14 homers when he was injured.

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