Matt Diaz was expecting two or three more games of a minor league rehabilitation assignment but declared himself ready enough to replace Jason Heyward on the Braves’ active roster.
Diaz flew back from an assignment in Columbus (OH) Tuesday morning to rejoin the Braves for the first time since going on the disabled list May 15, headed for surgery on an infected thumb.
Diaz said his thumb held up fine while he went 3-for-12 (.250) in three games for Triple-A Gwinnett.
“Even broke a bat on purpose to make sure the thumb was OK and it didn’t hurt, so everything was fine,” he joked.
Diaz hit only .178 in 28 games for the Braves this season before it was discovered that the infected splinter he thought he had removed last October was still causing problems.
“We suppressed it with high-dose antibiotics last year and when we cut out some of the infected tissue last year,” Diaz said. “But the fact that it came back, none of us were really thrilled – me, the trainers or the doctor. We took the steps to take care of it, and they got it out.”
Manager Bobby Cox said the Braves needed Diaz with Heyward on the shelf nursing his own thumb injury, especially with some left-handed pitching coming down the line in Philadelphia next week.
“It may be a little premature but we’ll see,” Cox said. “We are going to start running into some left-handed pitching.”