Martin Prado caught a flight to Charlotte on Wednesday and began a minor-league rehab assignment, with a plan to come off the disabled list July 15 for the Braves’ first game after the All-Star break.
The standout left fielder has been on the DL for one month recovering from a staph infection in his right calf that required surgery.
Prado is scheduled to play five games with Triple-A Gwinnett – two at Charlotte Wednesday and Thursday, then a three-game series against the same team beginning Friday at Gwinnett.
He could play for Double-A Mississippi or another affiliate on Monday, or the Braves might decide he’s had enough rehab and have him rest a day or two before working out with the major league team July 14 at Turner Field.
“Give him five or six games, and hopefully coming out of the All-Star break he’s good to go,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
He said Prado would served as designated hitter Wednesday, then probably play left field Thursday and at least one game at third base. As has been the plan, the Braves will move Prado to third base if Chipper Jones goes down for any length, or when the 39-year-old third baseman needs a day off.
Jones’ knee still sore
The cortisone shot Jones got in his knee Sunday didn’t bring relief as quickly as a previous injection, but he was back in the lineup for the second consecutive game Wednesday.
The third baseman is playing with a meniscus tear in his right knee and trying to avoid arthroscopic surgery, which could sideline him for about three weeks. He hit a two-run homer in the third inning Wednesday against Colorado.
Jones had two cortisone shots six weeks ago and was able to play for about a month relatively pain-free. He said those shot worked quickly. But not the one he got Sunday, which was a single injection with a higher dosage.
“I was really fine within, like, 36 hours, 48 hours [after the first shot],” he said. “Last night [Tuesday] it didn’t feel good at all. I probably shouldn’t have played. I’m glad I did, but it’s just hard [to go] side to side, slowing down….
“I just didn’t feel right [Tuesday]. Not having that first step quickness, you favor it. It’s hard to stay on back of it right-handed, swinging the bat. Just one of those things we’ve got to continue to monitor and deal with.”
Heyward gets day off
Jason Heyward was out of the lineup Wednesday, but only for a rest. He hasn’t had an recurrence of pain from right-shoulder inflammation that kept him on the disabled list for three weeks until June 15.
“Shoulder feels good,” he said. “Keep doing physical therapy and working out, and we’ll go from there.
He was 18-for-73 (.247) with six doubles, one homer and six RBIs in 19 games since returning, with eight walks and 16 strikeouts.
“Just having to make adjustments,” he said. “Because before I got hurt they were pounding me in, now they’re going back away.”