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‘I let them down.’ Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman laments leaving Canada’s WBC game

Canada first baseman Freddie Freeman throws to first for an out against Great Britain during the sixth inning of a World Baseball Classic game in Phoenix, Sunday, March 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Canada first baseman Freddie Freeman throws to first for an out against Britain in a World Baseball Classic game Sunday in Phoenix. (Godofredo A. Vásquez / Associated Press)

Freddie Freeman chose club over country Tuesday, the Dodgers first baseman pulling himself from Team Canada’s World Baseball Classic game against Colombia because of a mild right hamstring injury rather than playing through the pain, a decision that wasn’t as easy as it might have seemed.

“It was really tough,” Freeman said Wednesday after receiving three hours of treatment at Camelback Ranch. “I apologized to [Canada coach] Greg Hamilton. I feel like I let them down. He obviously reassured me that I didn’t, but that’s just the way I feel.”

Freeman, 33, chose to play for Canada, as he did in the 2017 WBC, to honor his late mother, Rosemary, who died of skin cancer when Freeman was 10. She was born and raised in Canada; he was raised in Southern California and starred at Orange El Modena High.

Canada did not win a game in the 2017 tournament but went 2-2 this year, including a 5-0 win over Colombia. Canada was eliminated with Wednesday’s 10-3 loss to Mexico.

“Watching on TV when you’ve invested as much as you have in the last week, it’s definitely tough to watch,” Freeman said. “It was a wonderful week. Canada, we put on a good show, a lot better than 2017. To not see it all the way through is hard. So there’s a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth having to leave the WBC.”

The Dodgers were grateful that Freeman pulled himself out of Tuesday’s game, Manager Dave Roberts calling it “a very responsible decision.”

Freeman said he felt “a little tightness” but not “a grab” on a swing in the third inning. He slowly ran out of the box, clearly in discomfort. He played the next half-inning in the field but was replaced in the fourth.

“I thought it was a cramp, but obviously it didn’t go away,” Freeman said. “No matter what game I’m in, I’m going to play it to the hardest of my capabilities, but with opening day 15, 16 days away, I was a little nervous having to go first to third or first to home, so ultimately I had to make that tough decision to come out.”

Both Freeman and Roberts said the injury will in no way impact Freeman’s status for opening day. Freeman, in fact, said he expects to return to Cactus League action by this weekend.

Canada's Freddie Freeman celebrates with teammates after scoring against Britain on Sunday.

Canada’s Freddie Freeman (5) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Britain in a…

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