ORLANDO — Already plenty antsy from nearly seven weeks of medical-mandated rest, Martin Prado had a position switch and the trade of a friend added to his things-to-think-about list Tuesday.
The All-Star second baseman, recovering from a season-ending torn oblique muscle and hip pointer, was told Tuesday he’d be moving to left field after the Braves traded for second baseman Dan Uggla.
The Braves traded reliever Mike Dunn and infielder Omar Infante — Prado’s close friend and Venezuelan countryman — to the Marlins for Uggla.
General manager Frank Wren told Prado the news about the trade and position swithc, and that he would play third if Chipper Jones has setbacks in his return from knee surgery or needs time off.
“I talked to him last night,” Wren said. “He said, ‘I just want to be a part of this team. I want to contribute. I don’t care where I play.’”
Prado was a utility infielder before displacing second baseman Kelly Johnson during the 2009 season. Prado has played left field frequently in past winter-ball seasons in Venezuela.
He’s expected to be cleared to resume workouts in December, and Wren said Prado should be at full strength for spring training.
Schafer, Young are backup options in CF
Having releasd Rick Ankiel and traded Infante, the Braves are left without a backup to center fielder Nate McLouth.
Wren said it could be Jordan Schafer, who finally seems healthy after missing parts of two seasons recovering from a fractured wrist, or Matt Young, 27, a plucky infielder/outfielder who could compete for a spot after six full seasons in the minors.
“He can play everywhere,” Wren said of Young, listed generously at 5 feet 8. “He’s a good baseball player. He’s strong. He drives the ball. He can do a lot of things. We saw it in spring training – every time we put him in there, he did something to help our club. And he’s down in winter ball and is one of the best players in Mexico right now.
“You’ve got to give a guy credit who continues to work on his craft, and just continues to do everything he can possibly do to get to the big leagues. I think if a lot more players took the approach he did, there’d be more guys in line to make big-league teams.”
Wren said the Braves might also add a bench player with center-field experience. Having already made their big move in a trade for Dan Uggla, Wren and his assistants look to strengthen the depth of the bullpen and the bench.
They might re-sign outfielder/pinch-hitter Eric Hinske, but it seems less likely that Matt Diaz is in the plans now with Prado moving to left field.