The Atlanta Braves Country Caravan stopped in the CSRA Thursday. Three players – first baseman Freddie Freeman, shortstop Tyler Pastornicky and right-handed pitcher J.R. Graham – visited with wounded military members at Charlie Norwood VA Hospital in Augusta.


ASTV was on hand to document the entire visit. Footage of the event can be seen on the latest edition of “Carolina Outdoors Presents: On the Sports Front,” which will be broadcast throughout the week on Atlantic broadband channel 95, and expanded coverage will be available tonight online at www2.aikenstandard.com/astv/onthesportsfront.


The visit was a chance for the young role models to interact with servicemen and hospital staff and meet individuals they look up to – literally.


As part of the visit, the baseball players toured the Active Duty Rehab Unit and got to see some of the equipment used during physical therapy. One of the items was a large rock-climbing wall in a hospital courtyard that the three Braves saw a vision-impaired veteran scale before each mounted their own climb to the top. They signed autographs, posed for pictures and spread good will during their visit before hitting the road for their next stop.


“It’s always a special time to come out an visit the wounded warriors,” Freeman said. “Anything we can do to give back and put a smile on their face.”


The Braves Country Caravan will continue to roll through the Southeast for another week. In total, Braves players, coaches, broadcasters and front office staff will travel nearly 3,000 miles to meet and greet fans prior to taking off for Spring Training.


“It’s fun to see the fans come out all over the Southeast. We always want to give back,” said Freeman, who’s looking forward to the start of spring training and the 2013 season. “It’s going to be a lot of fun this year. We hope to put together a season like last year. … We want to make the World Series and win the World Series.”


Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than a dozen years after graduating from Syracuse University.