That sound you hear is a collective breath by Braves fans across the city as Freddie Freeman and Touki Toussaint not only have been cleared to return but are already out on the field today!
Freddie Freeman and Touki Toussaint have been cleared to return to club facilities.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) July 17, 2020
It has been a journey for Freeman who was hit particularly hard by the virus, a battle that was described as “intense” and ended up having an impact on Nick Markakis decision to opt out of the season.
Brian Snitker had some thoughts on Freeman potentially returning, seen below:
That being said any kind of improvement from this virus is absolutely welcoming news and it is safe to say the Braves will allow Freeman all the time he needs to completely recover before he sees any kind of in-game action.
Touki Toussaint was also cleared to return and provides the Braves with another valuable arm that could have a meaningful impact on the shortened season. Good news all around for the Braves today, and most importantly for Freeman and Toussaint.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said for marquee acquisition Will Smith who has not yet been cleared to return but is going through the protocol.
Reliever Will Smith is still going through the protocols, hasn't been cleared yet.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 17, 2020
Kevin McAlpin spoke with Freeman and had this to say about Freeman potentially returning for Opening Day.
Freddie has told me he typically needs about 30-35 at bats to get ready for a season. Between simulated action, intrasquads the next few days and exhibitions Tues & Wed vs Miami, I'll be shocked if he ISN'T in the Opening Day lineup against deGrom & the Mets next Fri. @680TheFan— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) July 17, 2020
The Athletic Braves beat writer David O’Brien also had this to say about Freeman’s return: