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Hinske's foot not broken by pitch as feared

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Hinske's foot not broken by pitch as feared

By Mark Bowman and Chris Hempson / MLB.com

07/22/10 5:22 PM ET

ATLANTA -- Eric Hinske said it felt like his left foot broke when he was hit with a pitch during the seventh inning of Thursday afternoon's 8-0 win over the Padres. Fortunately, X-rays proved negative, and the Braves outfielder is confident he will be able to play during Friday night's series opener in Florida.

"When I got to first I told [first-base coach Glenn Hubbard], 'I think I broke my foot,' " Hinske said. "It was hard to get up on my toes. I think it just needed to settle down a little bit. If I'm in the lineup tomorrow, I'll play for sure."

Braves trainer Jeff Porter, along with manager Bobby Cox, came out of the dugout to check on Hinske and decided to pull the 32-year-old for a pinch-runner, Kris Medlen.

"Hopefully, Hinske's going to be OK for tomorrow's game," Cox said. "Right on top of the foot, the worst spot. For him to come out, we X-rayed it, and it's negative. Hopefully he'll be OK. He's a big part of our club."

In his past five games, Hinske was batting .273 (3-for-11) with one home run and a double.

Saturday starter Medlen relieves in a pinch

ATLANTA -- When Kris Medlen returns to Atlanta's starting rotation on Saturday afternoon against the Marlins, he'll obviously have much more time to prepare than he did Wednesday night, when he was suddenly told to prepare to pitch what proved to be the final inning of a 12-inning loss to the Padres.

While the Braves were preparing to hit in the bottom of the 11th, pitching coach Roger McDowell approached Medlen in the dugout and told him that he needed to be ready to pitch the next inning. The 24-pitch appearance essentially replaced the bullpen session he was going to throw on Thursday in preparation for Saturday's start.

Medlen went through the clubhouse, jumped on a golf cart and arrived in the bullpen in time to complete an accelerated warmup session.

The 24-year-old right-hander retired two of the first three batters he faced and then issued an intentional walk to Oscar Salazar before allowing Nick Hundley to drill a hanging changeup to left field for what proved to be a game-winning two-run double.

"I've probably faced [salazar] four or five times, and I've done well against him every time," Medlen said, including some Minor League matchups. "I hate walking guys because I feel like I can get anybody out. I definitely wanted to go after him. But it happens. If I make a better pitch [to Hundley], it's whatever."

While keeping his arm strong since making his most recent start on July 7, Medlen has worked five innings of relief and surrendered four runs -- three earned. He is now prepared to return to the rotation and attempt to extend the success he enjoyed in that role over the previous two months. The Braves have won 10 of the 11 games that he has started this year.

"You can only run so much to keep up your stamina," Medlen said. "It's the throwing part. We'll have to see what 17 days [between starts] has done to that."

McLouth 'felt great' in return

ATLANTA -- Atlanta outfielder Nate McLouth didn't get the immediate results that would have heightened optimism in his return to the lineup on Wednesday.

But while playing a Major League game for the first time in six weeks, McLouth gained more reason to believe he has distanced himself from the tremendous offensive struggles that plagued him before he suffered a concussion on June 9.

"Even though we lost, it was one of the funnest games of the year for me," McLouth said. "I felt really good. I saw the ball really good, was right on time with all my swings and felt great."

Playing for the first time since suffering the concussion after a collision with Jason Heyward, McLouth went 1-for-5 during the 6-4, 12-inning loss to the Padres and still managed to improve his batting average from .176 to .177.

With the Padres starting a left-handed pitcher in Thursday's series finale, the Braves opted to keep McLouth out of the starting lineup and give Melky Cabrera the start in center field.

Teammates get a laugh at Lowe's expense

ATLANTA -- Atlanta suffered a tough 6-4, 12-inning loss to San Diego on Wednesday at Turner Field, but the team still had some fun at Derek Lowe's expense.

With a limited number of positional players available, the 37-year-old was called upon to deliver a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the 11th inning. After moving Alex Gonzalez to second base with two outs, Lowe tripped down the dugout stairs as he was being congratulated by his teammates.

"Bunt down, then I went down," said Lowe, who was not injured during the comical sequence.

Lowe will start Friday's series opener against the Marlins.

Clevlen making progress on rehab stint

ATLANTA -- It's unknown whether rehabbing outfielder Brent Clevlen will have a chance to rejoin Atlanta before rosters are expanded in September.

But the 26-year-old outfielder started his journey back toward regular action when he began a Minor Legue rehab assignment Wednesday night by recording three singles in four at-bats for Class A Rome.

"It went good," Clevlen said. "Played six innings. Got four at-bats. Wasn't as good as I thought it would be, but just work through what they said and see how it goes from there."

Clevlen was still somewhat bothered by some discomfort in his right big toe. He has been sidelined since he injured the toe May 24, when he ran into a wall at PNC Park while making a catch that caught Braves manager Bobby Cox's attention.

Clevlen will continue his rehab assignment on Friday, when he rejoins Triple-A Gwinnett. He hit.259 in 26 games with Gwinnett before being promoted to Atlanta on May 15.

"It was nice to get back and start playing some games," he said. "Hopefully, [i'll} get my legs back in shape pretty quick."

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