HOUSTON – Left fielder Martin Prado landed on the 15-day disabled list Friday for a staph infection in his right calf, the latest in a string of Braves injuries that’s put the entire opening-day outfield on the DL.
Prado returned to Atlanta and had the infection cleaned out in a surgical procedure by Dr. Gary Lourie on Friday.
“They sliced him, and he’s got to heal from the inside-out,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “They pumped him with antibiotics…. I think it was caused by a strawberry, from a slide.
“I didn’t realize, until watching him, how much pain [staph infection] causes.”
Prado joined right fielder Jason Heyward (shoulder) and center fielder Nate McLouth (oblique) on the team’s crowded DL, which also includes pitchers Brandon Beachy (oblique), Kris Medlen (elbow surgery) and Peter Moylan (back surgery).
Infielder Brandon Hicks was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill Prado’s roster spot.
The Prado announcement came as a surprise to most, since the Braves had mentioned nothing about the staph infection after it was discovered Tuesday when the Braves were in Florida.
Prado was sidelined Wednesday and Thursday by a sore left knee from an unrelated incident, after being hit by a throw while stealing a base Tuesday.
“We knew it was there, it was an infection and we were trying to treat it,” Gonzalez said of the right-calf situation that had been kept private. “He was out of the lineup for the contusion where the ball hit him.”
Prado was cleared to play Tuesday night after the staph infection was diagnosed. Then he got hit in the knee of his other leg by a catcher’s throw as he stole second base in the ninth inning.
He missed two games with what the Braves termed a contusion of the left knee, which was swollen when he woke Wednesday. Prado said Thursday that he expected to return to the lineup Saturday or Sunday.
At that time, he thought his infected calf had improved. He told team officials Thursday that the calf felt much better, but later a Marlins doctor determined that the infection had worsened.
“[Prado] felt better last night, but the doctor looked at it and said, ‘Let’s not let it get to the next level,’” Gonzalez said. “Those things, you always err on the side of caution.”
He recommended having it taken care of, and Prado returned to Atlanta while the Braves traveled to Houston late Thursday from Miami.
The wound is left open to heal after such a medical procedure, so that new tissue will form starting from the bottom of the wound.
Braves head trainer Jeff Porter said it was the first time a Braves player had a staph infection severe enough to require such a procedure.The team didn’t say said how long Prado was expected to be sidelined, but typically such wounds take 2-3 weeks to heal.
According to the medical website WebMD, a staph infection is caused by a Staphylococcus bacteria, and often starts with a small cut that becomes infected with bacteria.
The WebMB report states: “Staph infections range from a simple boil to antibiotic-resistant infections to flesh-eating infections. The difference between all these is the strength of the infection, how deep it goes, how fast it spreads, and how treatable it is with antibiotics.”
While Prado was in Atlanta being treated Friday, the Braves were preparing for a four-game series against the Houston Astros. Veteran utility man Eric Hinske was in the lineup Friday in left field and rookie Matt Young was in right field.