Prado progressing; Venters rejuvenated

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.

Venters rejuvenated

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.”

65 comments Add your comment

ryan kinsley

July 4th, 2011
7:55 pm

first! omg omg! first!

Ben

July 4th, 2011
8:00 pm

Hope I am not First…..how lame would that be….when Prado come back….Chipper should get surgery…..We need Chipper at 100% for the stretch run….and the playoffs………….

Ben

July 4th, 2011
8:05 pm

I sure hope that Heyward wont be another Francour….They are totally different…one swings at anything while the other wont swing at anything….however…both are average around .200….

chipper zzang

July 4th, 2011
8:12 pm

its only Heyward’s 2nd year at the big league. you ppl gotta be patient. i am little bit concerned about his injury problems tho.. and i still think he should step inside to the batter’s box lil bit more.. like a half step…. ill be waiting for your opinion on this DOB.

urban redneck

July 4th, 2011
8:15 pm

anyone who says omg first sits down to pee.

braves57

July 4th, 2011
8:25 pm

The announcers were talking about who would play when Prado comes back, McLousy has to sit just based on defense. I’d rather have outfielders who want to throw the ball.

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

AntiBoortz

July 4th, 2011
8:41 pm

Option Ugla to AAA. Lugo couldn’t do worse! $9 million. MONEY FOR NOTHING; kicks for free!

AdirondackDave

July 4th, 2011
8:46 pm

DOB — Can you get that last two rascist comments deleted?

jerry

July 4th, 2011
8:49 pm

The Chase is officially on. Dan Uggla is a serious contender to break Rob Deer’s record, who carries the dubious honor of having the lowest official batting average while still qualifying for the batting title when he batted .179 in 1991.

AntiBoortz

July 4th, 2011
8:49 pm

On second thought, Lugo is already with the big league. PUT HIM IN COACH. Forget Mr. Money-for-Nothing! Mabye a stint on the bench will put his head in there!

Tom

July 4th, 2011
8:56 pm

BEN – You don’t know what you are talking about. Here is Franceour’s seven years in majors BA, .300, .260, .293, .239(traded from Braves), .280, .249, ,262 and this year it is .265 with 51RBI’s, 11 HRS, 13 SB’s and he has thrown out several runners at home plate with his strong arm. Heyward is not in same class as Franceour. He has lost alot of weight and got his stroke back!!

fred

July 4th, 2011
8:58 pm

J-Hey off the centerfield walk ..McCann scored.. 3-1 Braves.

jerry

July 4th, 2011
9:01 pm

the cf lost the ball should have caught it to hell with grammer and punctuation

Ben

July 4th, 2011
9:06 pm

So are you saying that Francour is BETTER than Heyward……If that is true….The Braves is doom….Francour got trade for a bag of chips….and Braves fans were happy, that’s how good Francour were.

fred

July 4th, 2011
9:06 pm

You can’t really compare Frenchy to J-Hey because J-Hey is just 22 years old. Give the kid a couple more years then compare.

Jeff is having a good year with Royals and thats good. Let him stay there if it works for him.

jerry

July 4th, 2011
9:07 pm

A walk. A very unpabable walk..

fred

July 4th, 2011
9:10 pm

If I had to pick one…it would be J-Hey…never liked Frenchy. He was Bobby’s pet.

fred

July 4th, 2011
9:13 pm

Load for Hanson..now help yourself.

fred

July 4th, 2011
9:17 pm

Happy 4th everyone..God Bless the USA.

Ben

July 4th, 2011
9:19 pm

Chipper is not playing tonight, may as well get the surgery tonight. I think Chipper is afraid that after the surgery, he may have to play everyday. Can’t expect Hanson to both pitch well and drive in runs….He is not Babe Ruth.

NRBQ

July 4th, 2011
9:24 pm

Jeez, O’brien. Are you looking at these comments?

Is this my chance to riff on Koreans, Jews and Venezuelans?

NDBQ

July 4th, 2011
9:54 pm

nrbq..have at it..you can always report the comment, just read.

Freeman another homer in the rain..

robert

July 4th, 2011
9:58 pm

please get that sob uggla out of the lineup

Tom

July 4th, 2011
10:02 pm

Ben- Just saying Jeff has stronger skills than Jason, does not matter if you are 21-22 like Jason, 27-28 like Jeff , or 32-33 years of age. For example, tonite’s game, see that hit down line to RF couple innings ago, Jason threw to second ,runner easily there, but with Jeff’s strong arm he is either out or it is close play. Jeff is faster, has stronger arm, has that former football mentality and is alot maturer now. Jason is good kid, should be developing his skills in minors and not in majors hitting .225-.230!. Jeff is hitting better than any of our OF players, big mistake to send him packing in my opinion! By the way he hit HR #12 tonite for KC, RBI #54, I think??

Ben

July 4th, 2011
10:09 pm

No matter what Francour do for some other team, He won’t amount to much as an Atlanta Braves. As a Brave, his strike-out to walk ratio will always be 100 to 1….It is easier to play in KC where noone cares, Melky Cabrera is also doing good in KC for petesake. What is this lovefest with Francour?

bj

July 4th, 2011
10:09 pm

Tim where was the respect when Bush was in office? However,I do respect your opinion.

Joseph

July 4th, 2011
10:09 pm

Well said tim. Good game. Freeman was locked in. Good to see Heyward hit that ball in the gap finally not trying to pull everything this game. He is just a kid and is learning. So much love for Frenchy now…hindsight maybe. He is a good kid, just didn’t fit the team at the time. Let it go he isn’t here anymore. Heyward has a long way to go, but so much talent in that man. Great game. Glad they got it in before the storm hit them.

aj

July 4th, 2011
10:14 pm

First and third no outs and you don’t score.
Need to do something with Uggla. Putting
too much pressure on himself. Swinging
at everything. Far too many strikeouts.
Freeman reallly playing well.

fred

July 4th, 2011
10:15 pm

Obama top right..no polities! let it go please.

Joseph

July 4th, 2011
10:18 pm

AJ….Don’t forget…Schafer needs to get on base for a change if he wants to keep the starting job after break. I love the kids defense, but his OBP is bad. Still thrilled with where this team is even without Prado.

Joseph

July 4th, 2011
10:20 pm

How sweet was that bare-handed play by Conrad on the bunt in the 4th. Dude gets killed for his defense (understandably), but give him some credit….that was a great play.

Tom

July 4th, 2011
10:25 pm

BEN, Joseph is right, good choice of words. My final thought on matter is why is it easier to hit in KC than Atlanta in your opinion?Just for the record Melky hit .255 for us last season, once again better than all of our real OF except Prado(who is really an IF helping team out).Freeman stayed longer in minors than Jason, look at what he has accomplished by toning his skills and not being brought up too soon. Freddie is threat every time he comes to plate! Jeff is gone but did not play as poorly as some would have us believe, if you don’t believe me just check his stats on KC site. We really can’t have 3 OF’ers hitting .230 or less, you would agree with me on that at least?

Joseph

July 4th, 2011
10:39 pm

I agree .230 is an issue. But I would just venture that a big sore spot up and down the lineup is #1 Prado being gone for 4 weeks. Team goes as he goes. #2 Schafer has got to get on base. The first 10 games loved his at bats….but now it is just how can he still be leading off. I don’t want his defense to leave the team, but right now I do not think he should be starting when Prado comes back. Defensive sub I think. But, then I do remember Fredi saying..a roster move “will be made” when Prado is healthy again. What that means I have no idea. But on teh .230 thing. Heyward sucked, no sugar coating it, he plain sucked before he went to the DL. Since he has been back he is hitting…. .257. That isn’t great, but considering how bad pre-DL was…I think he is on the right track. McLouth has been better, not good just better. I like his approaches lately. Just going to be interesting to see what they do when Prado gets back. I am both nervous and excited.

Tom

July 4th, 2011
10:52 pm

Joseph – Interesting thoughts. I too like Schafer’s D, too many K’s, if he can’t slap ball around, hit at least .250 ,only thing he can realistic due is late inning D’s and pinch run. Do not think Braves keep him around just for that. Prado will probably need about 10 major league games to see if he can get back to where he was before injury. We do need a decent Righty OF though, maybe not a markee type player we have to give up farm for. Perhaps Bourn, Pence or maybe even Franceour, would not cost us much except a pitcher I guess? We seem to have a wealth of pitching with strong farm system!!

Joseph

July 4th, 2011
11:03 pm

I appreciate your logic Tom. On the trade thing…I don’t see either of them happening. Frenchy not a chance. I am happy he is doing so well in KC. He always was a good kid even when he was still in school. I leave him on it at that statement.

In all honesty, I would literally jump for joy if we got Bourne, even if it cost 2 pitching prospects AT MOST….but I do not see it happening and really do not consider him a possibility. I am not aware of his contract or salary situation but those are factors. My contention is that Houston would want a lot and I mean a lot of prospects for him. They are rebuilding completely. Huge youth movement there. Pence….no way. He is all they have really. He is their draw for selling tickets. I can’t imagine him being dealt unless it is a Tex like deal.

That said…I think they need to upgrade at CF and early bullpen. Proctor is the weakest link, and damn I love it that 1 guy is horrible in our bullpen istead of the entire bullpen as a whole. I love that.

Maurice

July 5th, 2011
12:03 am

Proctor is not the rotten egg in the bullpen. It’s Linebrink and Sherrill!

Joseph

July 5th, 2011
12:09 am

WOW JUST WOW @ Maurice….REALLY????

Proctor 5ER in his last 10 APP …4.05ERA for season
Linebrink…1ER in his last 10 APP….3.44 ERA for season
Sherrill….2ER in his last 10 APP….2.49 ERA for season

What are you talking about?

Paul

July 5th, 2011
12:36 am

I really like our outfield of McLouth, Schafer, and Heyward. That is the best fielding outfield in MLB, bar none. Once Prado copmes back, I would put him back at second base. Uggla has been unproductive at the plate thus far this season.

Joseph

July 5th, 2011
12:40 am

Good point on defensive outfield Paul…But are you really sure you want to keep a lead off guy that strikes out more than Uggla as part of the offensive scheme?

Jason

July 5th, 2011
1:09 am

At Obama: This is a sports blog more specifically a Braves Blog. No one cares to debate politics here. Please go to the double wide and debate the politics with your buddies in the park.

wallypip

July 5th, 2011
1:22 am

Don’t know what the Braves will do in the way of acquiring anybody, but the Braves do have some pitching prospects that should be able to generate lots of interest. I’d like to see the Braves get Chris Young, Arizona’s centerfielder. Dude is a great defender, possesses plus speed and has 16 homers and 47 rbi. He’s leading the league in doubles right now with 24. He’s only 27 and making $5 mil per right now. Arizona needs two starting pitchers, and any number of prospects from the Braves minor league system would be signficant upgrades for them. I say give ‘em Schafer and Minor and it’s Katie bar the door. This guy will wreak havoc in Turner Field.

Joseph

July 5th, 2011
1:27 am

I like your thinking wally. Young is a good young player. I only have one thing though. The 16 homes….do not fall in love with it. Arizona is a hitters park and balls fly out of there. Coors field junior. But He is a really good player. The money might be an issue though. Wish it wasn’t. Do you know how long he is under contract for?

Love the logical thinking wally. Maybe there is a deal there, but would like to keep Schafer for PR purposes as a gut reaction but I love you thinking there.

wallypip

July 5th, 2011
1:34 am

Joseph: Yeah. Just get Young’s name out there because you know Frank Wren takes all his cues from blog comments. Hahahahaha. I know Bourne and Pence are hot topics on the Brave fans’ trade front but I think Young is better than either. You’re right about Chase Field being a hitter’s park, but I almost like Young’s doubles-duty more than his homers. Turner is a a doubles field, tough to get balls out of there on many nights, though Young has hit some long bombs this year.

Joseph

July 5th, 2011
1:42 am

I admit wally. All the talk on here of Bourne Pence …….and even Frenchy latly…lol…makes me laugh because of the team they play for and what that team would be looking for in a trad……excluding Frenchy…..Love the kid but we been down that road.

Young from a contending team that does need pitching………..might be possible. WoW. The more I think I love it. But it would be hard to get a starting position player away from a contending team though. But I love the idea.

WalterEgo

July 5th, 2011
5:04 am

Enter your comments here

[...] DL June 8 with a staph infection in his right knee. Now that he’s had surgery, Prado appears recovered enough to head to a rehab assignment, according to the Atlanta [...]

Jimmy Crack

July 5th, 2011
7:16 am

Prado’s return will only help the lineup. Chipper needs more rest.

Race is overrated. Now stupidity, that’s where you can get separation.

WalterEgo

July 5th, 2011
8:29 am

“Black dudes like to hit and run”! Gotta love that coming from a white dude that won’t even use his real name in a forum. You can’t make this kind of ignorance up and irony up.

Michael Kelly

July 5th, 2011
9:02 am

DREW BREES, YOU ARE A TOOL

bob

July 5th, 2011
9:14 am

Now we can start to focus on the second half of the season.

It is a good sign that FG realizes JV can not be used every day. The season is a marathon and FG needs to pace the use of these young arms for the September and October games (and beyond).

Once Prado returns, CJ needs to have the surgery. It is obvious that he is playing in pain.

As regards Uggla, FG needs to take the guy out and discuss his mindset since Uggla has to be completely confused at this point in time.

Before the trade deadline, moreover, the team needs to land a real leadoff hitter. JS has more multi strikeout games than multi hit games. JS is way too inconsistent for a playoff series. Trade with Houston or Pittsburgh or even the Yankees. Just bite the bullet and do a deal.

Otherwise, I like the fact that the team is keeping pace with Philly and in the lead in the wild card standings.

hdhd

July 5th, 2011
9:25 am

I think Fredi has handled the Venters situation really well. And the Braves have stepped up.

D man

July 5th, 2011
9:35 am

Go Braves…

D man

July 5th, 2011
9:37 am

4th best record in the MLB. Boston pulled ahead of us… :(

[...] DL June 8 with a staph infection in his right knee. Now that he’s had surgery, Prado appears recovered enough to head to a rehab assignment, according to the Atlanta [...]

OldFan

July 5th, 2011
10:46 am

Braves are fun to watch this year with some excellent emerging talent. But I don’t understand why opposing pitchers don’t just roll the ball across the plate against Uggla. He’d still swing and miss. When does the slow start end?

bfred

July 5th, 2011
10:55 am

I live out in Houston now and Pence is by far the Astros’ best everyday player. They would want the boat for him. The team has so many needs and Pence is such a fan favorite (Bourne also, to a lesser extent) that I think it would cost us quite a bit to pull off that trade. Also, Pence is not much of a clubhouse leader type. Very quiet, kind of quirky. He reminds me too much of the no-emotion Braves that coudl never get up for the playoffs. Bourne doesn’t hit for much power but is incredibly fast and hits for avg. He would be a better target IMO.

Hinske Da Man

July 5th, 2011
11:25 am

Nice win last night, Freddie is a stud. When will Proctor be DFA’d? That clown doesn’t deserve to be in the majors.

WalterEgo

July 5th, 2011
12:02 pm

Dear Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho,

Please do not lump me with the “I hate black people” poster. My father was a large part of the civil rights movement in Albany, GA and my grandfather was a SB minister and fought against the clan. The least I could do as a white southerner is call out my own. I tried to do it with some levity, appreciated or not.

I too am a Braves fan. I understand the board’s purpose.

Walter

WalterEgo

July 5th, 2011
12:04 pm

Oh, and please feel free to remove my prior comments.

lodog

July 5th, 2011
1:04 pm

bring Frenchy back, I think he has learned his lessons well, seems odd that when we trade a player , they always get their swing back. Would love to see him in right, Heyward in center, Mclouth in left

Tom

July 5th, 2011
3:42 pm

lodog – I’m all for bringing back Franceour( I think he has matured and learned many of life’s lessons) but don’t forget this is McLouth’s last year of his contract(I think?). We can not pay him 6-7 million to be a 230-240 hitter, no matter how good a D you play! We can sacrifice a good hitting SS for a defensive wizard at that position only! We have to get a good 260-280 type hitter for the OF(perferably a righty), not a .300 type guy who we have to give a a lot of talent for! Remember Mark Teixeira and the Texas Rangers, that CAN NOT happen again!!

FW

July 5th, 2011
4:21 pm

What happended to all the trade JJ talk? I was there Friday nite when he almost pitched a no hitter, too bad he didnt, would have helped raise his stock more, think Im gonna keep taking calls & see whats available out there???

mdbravesfan

July 5th, 2011
4:46 pm

DOB- Does Fredi have a clause in his contract where as he can only leave the dugout for pitching changes? Chipper had to be pissed that Fredi, even though the game was over , didn’t at least defend him. And the bad scaught stealing on Gonzalez yesterday. Bad mojo…

[...] DL June 8 with a staph infection in his right knee. Now that he’s had surgery, Prado appears recovered enough to head to a rehab assignment, according to the Atlanta [...]

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