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Freddie Freeman has surgery on right elbow

Freddie Freeman

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has undergone surgery to remove loose bodies in his right elbow, the team announced on Friday:

The structural procedure should clean out Freeman’s elbow, and he is expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training in February.

Freeman missed time at the end of the regular season due to elbow soreness, and the injury left him feeling less than 100 percent ahead of Atlanta’s NLDS matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Indeed, Freeman struggled against the Cardinals. He slashed .200/.273/.400, notching just four hits in five games and six strikeouts in five games. Redbirds pitchers repeatedly peppered the outer half of the plate against Freeman, and he struggled to get extension in part due to the elbow issue.

The setback could not have come at a worse time for the Braves. Although Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies both produced at the top of the order, Freeman was not able to be the same kind of run-producer that he was during the regular season.

Atlanta averaged just three runs per game over the course of the season, and the absence of clutch hitting made it clear just how important Freeman is in the middle of the Braves lineup.

Nevertheless, Freeman remains one of the best hitters in the game. He strung together another spectacular campaign in 2019, slashing .295/.389/.549 with 38 homers and 121 RBIs, and he continues to play a exceptional defense at first base.

The Braves will hope that Freeman is fully healthy when they embark on their quest to win a third consecutive National League East division title in 2020.