The long-awaited MLB September roster expansion has finally arrived, and the Atlanta Braves have wasted no time in making moves to improve their team's chances at a division title.
The September call-ups will mean a chance at redemption for outcast players like Troy Glaus, Nate McLouth, and Kenshin Kawakami, but for Jason Heyward's bunk buddy, Freddie Freeman, the expanded roster presents an opportunity for a strong first impression on the first-place Braves.
On Tuesday, Freeman was named the International League Rookie of the Year. In Triple-A Gwinnett, he has given Braves fans hope for the future and reason to believe that the Braves can be successful for a long time, batting .319 and swatting 18 homers with 87 RBI.
However, when Freeman enters the Braves clubhouse on Wednesday with absolutely no Major League experience, he will begin a fresh start with a clean slate and no statistics to hold him back.
Freeman is expected to be the Braves' Opening Day first baseman in 2011, but for right now, he is nothing but a rookie in the shadow of his roommate that is ready to learn from his new teammates and finally prove that his production on both sides of the ball can translate to the big show.
This September, Freeman will not be the only one with something to prove.
Three of the announced Braves to be promoted or activated disappointed and eventually hurt the Braves ball club earlier this year.
Nate McLouth, Kenshin Kawakami, and Troy Glaus will be given a second chance to attempt to prove to everyone in the Braves organization and fanbase that they can contribute to Atlanta's hunt for October and are worth the millions of dollars currently being invested in them.
If the struggling Derek Lowe continues to be troubled by discomfort in his right elbow, Kawakami may be thrown directly into the starting rotation. Before being optioned to Gwinnett, Kawakami started 15 games for the Braves, going 1-9 with a 4.75 ERA.
Also joining the team on Wednesday are relievers Mike Dunn and Scott Proctor.
They will be joined by catcher J.C. Boscan. The veteran catcher, now at the age of 30, has been in the Braves' farm system since he was just 17 years old. With his move up to Atlanta, he will be the Braves' fourth native of Venezuela, along with infielders Alex Gonzalez, Martin Prado, and Omar Infante.
In 8.1 innings pitched with Atlanta this year, Dunn has not allowed a run.
These new and familiar faces joining the Atlanta Braves can only help the Braves' chances and deepen an Atlanta bench and bullpen that have already proven to be two of the most productive and efficient in baseball.
This is an exciting time for the Atlanta Braves and their fans.