Welcome back to Turner Field for a game involving what remains of your Atlanta Braves.
To all of the injury issues the team has had in the season — not the least of which were losing Chipper Jones and pitcher Kris Medlen for the year and pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Takashi Saito for extended periods, we add this: Martin Prado is “definitely going to be out for a while” with a hip-pointer, manager Bobby Cox said after Monday’s game.
The biggest problem with that: There’s not “a while” left in the season. In fact, there are more letters in “a while” (six) than there are games left on the Braves’ schedule (five).
Prado might be toast, but the Braves aren’t, yet. They enter tonight’s game against Florida with a one-half game lead over San Diego and 4 1/2 over all-but-dead Colorado in the National League wild card race.
Prado is having an MRI and was not available for comment before the game. Cox said he was “feeling better” today. But, even though we’re talking about one of the toughest players on the team, it would be surprising to see him back in the lineup this season. A hip-pointer is an extremely painful injury, one that prevents a player from pivoting — which eliminates pretty much every movement in a baseball game (fielding, throwing, hitting).
How are the Braves still here? They’re like Monty Python’s “Black Knight,” who kept fighting on despite severed limbs. (”It’s only a flesh wound!” … I am invincible! The Black Knight always triumphs!”)
In fact, since everybody can use a laugh these days . . .
On a related note, the “Black Knight” is batting third and playing center field for the Braves tonight.
OK, seriously. The lineup includes these changes: Catcher Brian McCann is batting third to replace Prado; the struggling Melky Cabrera (hitting only .229 with one homer in his last 49 games) is hitting fifth; Brooks Conrad starts at third base and hits seventh.
Pitching tonight on only three days rest (in place of the injured Jurrjens) is Tim Hudson. He’s only 1-4 with a 6.10 earned run average in five September starts after going 6-0 with a 1.43 ERA in his previous eight outings. One positive omen: Hudson has pitched on three days rest three times before in the regular season, going 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA.
That’s it for now. I’ll be back to live blog at game time. Can the Braves hang on?