After bounding up and down stadium stairs in the afternoon heat Monday at Turner Field, Martin Prado said he’s ready to start a rehab assignment and still hoped to rejoin the Braves in time to face the Phillies next weekend before the All-Star break.
The left fielder is recovering from staph-infection surgery and did not appear slowed by the still-healing incision on his right calf, which was wrapped tightly as he worked out on the field – and on the stairs.
“Just trying to get my strength back, because I feel like I’m ready [to play],” said Prado, who’s been on the DL four weeks. “I’ve been getting tired so fast. Today was actually better. Way better. I feel good physically.
“They might send me [Tuesday] to play somewhere. I might play in Philly [next weekend]. I want to play in play in Philly, man.”
Prado said he ideally would like to get about 30 at-bats before he’s activated. The only way that could possibly happen so quickly might be for him to bat every inning in specially arranged intrasquad or “B” games with the Braves’ Gulf Coast League team in Florida.
The more conventional rehab option would be for him to go play with a Braves minor-league affiliate through the All-Star break, then be ready to play when the Braves host the Nationals on July 15 in the first game after the break.
Braves general manager Frank Wren said before Monday’s game that he didn’t know yet when or where Prado would begin his rehab assignment.
When your nickname is “Every Day” Jonny, three days of rest can feel more like a month.
Braves left-hander Jonny Venters said his arm felt great when he warmed up in the bullpen twice during Sunday’s game, after three days without throwing. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he is determined to rest Venters more in the second half of the season.
The All-Star led major league relievers with 45 appearances and 50 innings at the season’s midway point (81 games), and Gonzalez announced after Venters gave up a two-run homer Wednesday (the Braves’ 82nd game) that he would be rested for at least part of the Baltimore Orioles series.
He allowed six runs in three appearances on last week’s road trip to nearly triple his ERA from 0.56 to 1.59.
Venters didn’t pitch at all during the Orioles series, though he warmed up during Sunday’s game and was nearly called upon.
“I was excited [Sunday] when I got to warm up a little bit,” he said. “Thought I might get in the game. I was pretty fired up. [His arm] felt great. So hopefully I get in there today [Monday] and put up a zero.”
Venters said he thought he blew his chance to make the All-Star team after two rough outings at San Diego and Seattle last week. But when All-Star teams were announced Sunday, he was one of four Braves on the National League squad along with Jair Jurrjens, Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. McCann was elected the NL’s starting catcher in fan balloting.
“Once I sat down with my family last night and talked about it, it was pretty cool to think about how I’ll be in the same clubhouse with some of those guys,” he said. “Getting mentioned with some of those names is really special.”
He spent part of his two days of downtime Friday and Saturday watching video of his recent appearances.
“My mechanics were definitely not as good as they were [before the trip],” he said. “I made some mechanical adjustments and felt a lot of better. I was kind of rushing down the hill [mound]. My arm was kind of dragging. I was throwing with a lot more arm than I needed to be throwing with, so my mechanics were kind of deteriorating.
“It was from not being focused on what I need to be focused on when I play catch, and it just gradually got to the point where it started to hurt my arm the way I was throwing. So I had to figure out what I was doing. I looked at video, and there were definitely some things that I wasn’t doing right.”