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    Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman hopes he has found his swing
    • May 29, 2024

    NEW YORK — Freddie Freeman is flattered by your concern.

    “The thing that makes me kind of smile is when people come up to me and say, ‘Oh, you’re not playing that well,” said the Dodgers first baseman, whose batting average has been below .300 for most of May and who went 26 games between home runs at one point. “I’m, ‘That’s still okay. Thank you for believing that there’s way more in there.’

    “It’s nice that the bar is so high up here and that’s what everybody expects.”

    Most of all, Freeman expects more of himself – even though he went into Tuesday’s doubleheader batting .284 with an .833 OPS, numbers that most major-league hitters would gladly accept.

    A five-hit day Tuesday (three in the first game of the doubleheader, two in the nightcap) raised those numbers closer to Freeman’s usual standards.

    “Whenever you don’t play the way you think you can play, it’s always frustrating. There’s no way around it,” Freeman said.

    Freeman was frustrated by a flaw in his swing that had persisted – on and off – since September. He was opening up his front hip too soon, causing him to cut off his swing, limit the areas of the strike zone he could cover and how long his bat was in the hitting zone. His hip turn is “a massive part of the swing for me,” Freeman said.

    “When you keep doing the same thing over and over and you know it’s wrong, it’s frustrating,” Freeman said.

    Monday’s rainout gave Freeman some down time with the hitting coaches to watch some video – something that is “very rare” for Freeman who prefers to go by “feel.”

    “We were trying to figure out why I was opening up too soon with my cues to hit that way (points to left field),” Freeman said. “We watched a lot of video from four, five years ago and what I was doing there and what I was doing May of last year and comparing.”

    What they found was that Freeman was not loading on to his back leg adequately, leading to his front hip opening too soon. Tuesday’s five-hit bonanza provided positive feedback.

    “I’ve always little flashes here and there throughout the first couple months, feeling good, and then the next day you feel bad,” he said. “Hopefully it’s more of a sticking thing this time.

    “I don’t know. To say you’ve got anything figured out in this game, it’s just not true.”

    2B OR NOT 2B

    Mookie Betts started at second base on Wednesday for the first time since April 29. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had said he wouldn’t be switching Betts between shortstop and second base any more so that Betts could settle in and get more experience at shortstop.

    Roberts explained the move Wednesday as a way to give Betts a lighter workload for a day. With left-hander James Paxton starting, more action was expected on the left side of the infield.

    “To get him on the other side of the diamond, it’s essentially, as Mookie puts it, almost like an off day,” Roberts said.

    Betts continues to work daily at shortstop long before game time. Roberts praised Betts for all the extra work he is putting in but expects Betts to cut back eventually.

    “That will happen,” Roberts said. “I don’t know if it’s gonna happen in June or July. It will happen. But I think it’s just more, for us, leaving it to him that whenever he feels the confidence that he can kind of manage his prep work, at that point in time, he will. But I just trust him in the sense of, he knows what it takes to get ready.”


    Monday’s rainout and Tuesday’s doubleheader will change the Dodgers’ starting rotation slightly going forward. Walker Buehler will start Friday at home against the Colorado Rockies, with Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Saturday.

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    Gavin Stone will start Sunday, with Tyler Glasnow pushed back until Tuesday in Pittsburgh. It will be Stone’s second start this season on the standard four days of rest and only the fourth by a Dodgers starter this season on four days of rest.


    Relief pitcher Evan Phillips made his second rehab appearance with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday and retired both batters he faced, striking out one. Phillips (hamstring) is expected to join the Dodgers on Friday and be activated from the injured list.


    The Dodgers are off Thursday.

    Rockies (TBA) at Dodgers (RHP Walker Buehler, 1-2, 4.26 ERA), Friday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, 570 AM

    ​ Orange County Register