|Freel returns to Reds a month after concussion|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 03 July 2007 12:11|
Freel was activated off the disabled list and reinstalled as leadoff hitter for interim manager Pete Mackanin's first game. Catcher Chad Moeller was designated for assignment to open a roster spot.
The 31-year-old Freel ran into outfielder Norris Hopper while catching a fly ball on May 28 and had to be taken off the field at Great American Ball Park in an ambulance. A severe concussion prevented him from working out until June 15.
``For the most part, I feel a lot better now,'' Freel said. ``Hopefully I can do what I've done best - getting on base or doing something to create some kind of havoc out there.''
Freel's all-out style will be tested when he gets back on the field after the most serious accident of his career.
When he went to Triple-A Louisville on a rehabilitation assignment, he toned down his play by sliding more conservatively at times.
``For the most part, I played hard,'' Freel said. ``I didn't have any chances to dive for any balls in the outfield. I stole a couple of bases, dove headfirst. I did some feet-first sliding, too, on a couple ones that I normally don't do.
``I don't know. I guess I probably thought about it a little bit and didn't want to get tagged on the head, so I did slide feet-first. If anything, it felt a little awkward.''
He's going to get plenty of chances to stir things up.
Mackanin, who took over after Jerry Narron was fired on Sunday night, likes Freel's style and wants to see as much of it as he can.
``He's got a lot of energy,'' Mackanin said. ``I think we need a lot of energy. I want to try to use him as much as I can and keep him as healthy as I can.''
Freel was hitting only .251 with two homers and eight steals when he got hurt. He was happy to hear Mackanin's plans.
``It's nice to be thought about,'' he said.
Moeller, one of three catchers on the roster, hit .170 with one homer in 29 games, including nine starts.