CINCINNATI – A decision on whether to put Martin Prado on the disabled list wasn’t expected to be made until Monday, Braves general manager Frank Wren said.
Braves officials were waiting to see how the All-Star second baseman would feel a couple of days after he fractured his right pinky sliding head-first at home plate in Friday’s win against the Reds.
Since the diagnosis made on Saturday called for him to miss at least 7-1o days, it seemed likely the Braves would put him on the 15-day DL, rather than play short-handed for a week or longer.
Manager Bobby Cox did, however, say that if anyone could return quicker, it was Prado.
If Prado is DL’d, middle infielder Diory Hernandez might be the leading candidate for a call-up from Triple-A Gwinnett. Henandez has reached base in 27 consecutive games at Gwinnett.
Prado’s injury could have been much worse. Braves fans feared the All-Star leadoff man might be out a lot longer after he was hurt sliding in the 10th inning of Friday’s 6-4 win. Torn ligaments or a break more severe than the one he sustained — a stable avulsion fracture – might have required far more healing time than a week or a 15-day DL stint.
“There was a hole right beside home plate,” Prado said. “My finger stuck in it. I didn’t see the hole. I was just trying to reach for home plate, and that finger stuck in the hole. That’s when I felt the pain.
“I felt it. I knew it was going to be something … not normal. It was not normal pain.”
X-rays taken after the game were inconclusive, and the diagnosis was made after Prado was evaluated by a doctor in Cincinnati just after noon Saturday. He’ll see a Braves hand specialist on Monday.
Cox had said the Braves would wait until Sunday or Monday to decide whether to place Prado on the 15-day disabled list. They wanted to see how Prado after a couple of days of rest.
“If anybody can get back in the lineup quickly, it’d be him,” Cox said. “He’s tough.”
An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone where a tendon or ligament attaches to the bone. When such a fracture occurs, the tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of the bone. Prado might be able to throw in a couple of days, but might not be able to swing a bat for at least a week.
Although the news could have been worse, his frustration was obvious as Prado hung around the clubhouse during the weekend games, watching videos of his at-bats.
“I don’t want to be out,” he said. “I just want to get back. Because the most important games are coming up. To not be part of it is just so frustrating…. The only game I missed [this season] was when Bobby told me I was getting a day off.”
“I’m just probably going to swallow this, take those 10 days to get physically 100 percent. When I come back just pick up where I left off, don’t lose my approach. Mentally prepare.”
There are few players that any team would miss more than the Braves would miss Prado for an extended stretch.
His .315 batting average ranked third in the National League, and he leads the league in hits (138) and the majors in multi-hit games (44). Since moving into the leadoff role in mid-May, he’s hit .322 with a .362 on-base percentage from the top of the order.
“I don’t care about my numbers,” he said. “I care that we stay in first place. I think we’ve got a team to make the playoffs. That’s the only thing I think about. Numbers go away. Just play as a team, make the playoffs and maybe the World Series, that means a lot to me.”