Braves' Freeman back in action after elbow 'flare'

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is back in the lineup Saturday after exiting Friday's game with elbow soreness.

The All-Star left in the fourth inning of Friday's 5-0 win against the Washington Nationals in what the Braves called a precautionary move.

After the game, Freeman said he has dealt with a spur for years and it was tweaked when he made a backhand defensive play on a ground ball in the bottom of the third.

"I jammed my elbow on that play, so it just kind of flared up," Freeman said. "I've had it, I've felt it, I've dealt with it, I've played through it. Just today, it was a little bit more than I expected. ... I got some treatment, did some really good stuff. Everything calmed down around it. It's just a sharp spur, and sometimes you can't control having it jam into something like that. My elbow just went into a weird spot when I made that backhand play.

"I've always been able to play through it and deal with it the last couple of years. It's never affected me, and I don't anticipate this affecting me at all."

The Braves lead the National League East by 9 ½ games entering Saturday's game against second-place Washington.

Freeman, who turned 30 years old on Thursday, entered Friday's action hitting .303 with 38 home runs, and was tied for the major league lead with 117 RBIs. He has played in all but one of the Braves' 148 contests this year. Last season, he was one of five MLB players who appeared in 162 games. In 2017, he missed six weeks with a fractured wrist, but he has never been on the injured list due to elbow problems.

ESPN's Eddie Matz contributed to this report.