Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman rediscovers his swing after persistent work

PHOENIX — Freddie Freeman has been searching for his swing, inside and out.

A strict adherent to routine, Freeman hits three rounds of batting practice each day in preparation for that night’s game. When things aren’t going well or his swing just isn’t up to his standards – as it hasn’t been for much of the season’s first month – Freeman will change things up by taking the middle round out on the field with the team.

When his batting average sank to .259 10 days ago, Freeman increased the number of swings he was taking trying to find the swing that produced a .331 average and 211 hits (59 doubles) last season.

“I have taken a lot (of extra swings), probably three times the amount of swings I normally do on a game day just to hurry this thing up,” he said. “There’s still bad swings in there but ultimately there have been a lot more good swings lately.”

He has found something. Over his eight games before Monday, Freeman was 11 for 27 (.444) and Sunday hit his first home run since the Dodgers’ home opener on March 28.

“Yeah, just things work itself out,” Freeman said. “I mean, I wish I could give you a definitive answer of why the swing is how it is. If I knew exactly, I would do the same thing every day and get lots of hits every day. But this game is hard sometimes and everything’s kind of been working.

“I’ve just been kind of doing really, really slow, soft swings in BP and let the adrenaline of the game take the swing a little bit harder and things have been, the last week, been a lot better.”


Last week, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he expected injured outfielder Jason Heyward to join the team when this road trip reached Arizona to have his status re-evaluated. But Heyward is still not with the team. He has been out since March with a lower back strain that was not expected to sideline him this long.

“It’s already much longer than we all anticipated, yeah,” Roberts said.

Heyward is doing limited baseball activities and progressing slowly. At some point, he will go on a rehab assignment.

“I know Jason, more than anyone, wants to get back and get moving, get this process moving. But he just hasn’t,” Roberts said. “He hasn’t been able to physically. I’m sure he’s frustrated.”

Heyward’s absence has opened up playing time for Andy Pages, who has taken advantage of it by batting .302 (13 for 43) with an .861 OPS thanks in part to six extra-base hits (four doubles, two home runs) through his first 11 big-league games.

“Andy’s been fantastic,” Roberts said. “Certainly you lose Jason and, to have a young player come in and make an impact like that, it’s been great.

“(We were) feeling like the skill set should play at the big-league level. But you don’t know until you know, and so I think internally we’re pretty excited that he’s shown the way he has so early on in his big-league career.”


Right-hander Walker Buehler is scheduled to make his sixth rehab start Tuesday for Triple-A Oklahoma City and Blake Treinen his fourth rehab appearance on Wednesday.

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This will almost certainly be Buehler’s final rehab start before joining the Dodgers’ starting rotation for the first time since June 2022. But Roberts didn’t want to make any guarantees.

“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “I don’t want to put any extra expectation on Walker. Go out there, pitch well, get out of it healthy and then we’ll make the next move.”


Right-hander Gus Varland was added to the active roster Monday after joining the Dodgers in Toronto on Sunday. Ryan Brasier went to the injured list with a calf strain.


Dodgers (RHP Landon Knack, 1-1, 3.27 ERA) at Diamondbacks (LHP Jordan Montgomery, 1-1, 2.77 ERA), Tuesday, 6:40 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA, 570 AM

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