As bad as it looked when Martin Prado went down clutching his left hip Monday, the news only got worse on Tuesday.
An MRI taken revealed not only had Prado suffered a hip pointer but a torn external oblique muscle as well. So not only will he miss the rest of the season but the postseason, if the Braves make it as the National League wild card team.
Doctors determined he will need two months of rest before he even begins rehabilitation.
Many consider Prado to be the Braves’ most valuable player this season, batting .307 with 15 home runs, a team-high 40 doubles, and 66 RBIs in an All-Star season.
When the Braves were struggling at leadoff, Prado took over and hit .322 in the leadoff spot. When Chipper Jones was lost for the season to a torn knee ligament, Prado moved from seamlessly from second to third base.
“He’s had a hell of a year,” Tim Hudson said. “I hate it for him. I hate it for us because he’s such a huge part of our club.”
Prado first injured his hip Monday diving to rob Dan Uggla of a hit in the fourth inning, then aggravated it when he tried to avoid a piece of a Mike Stanton broken bat in the top of the fifth inning. Prado went down in pain after a swing in the fifth inning and had to be helped off the field.
He was already battling a broken finger and a sore groin.
Brooks Conrad, who made his 19th start of the year at third base Tuesday night, will be the one the Braves count on at third now. He tripled to tie Tuesday’s game in the seventh inning and start a three-run game-winning rally.
Since replacing Prado Monday night, he’s 2-for-5 with a double and a triple.
“When Conrad was in there early in the year, he did a great job,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He sparked us actually. We look for the same thing from him again.”
Cox normally has two backup middle infielders but with Omar Infante playing every day at second and Prado hurt, that leaves only Diory Hernandez.
“Push comes to shove, (Troy) Glaus can play third and (Eric) Hinske can actually play over there too a little bit,” Cox said. “So we’ve got to watch pinch-running now, with (Diory). We don’t really have another guy.”