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Health updates: Prado, Heyward, O’Flaherty


The Don™
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HOUSTON — Martin Prado is close to returning from a broken right pinkie, which he’ll test during live batting practice Friday.

The All-Star second baseman is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Sunday, but it might be early in the week before he’s activated.

“I don’t know if he’s going to be a part of the series against the Dodgers or not,” said Braves manager Bobby Cox, who indicated Prado could play before the four-game home series with the Dodgers ends Monday.

Cox said Prado wouldn’t necessarily require any minor-league rehabilitation games before he’s activated. However, Prado said it would probably be best to play a rehab game or two.

He hit off a tee in the batting cage in Houston, but won’t know how the finger will respond to live pitching until Friday.

“It’s kind of different hitting off the tee and hitting live,” he said. “We’ll see after I take BP. Then we’ll make a decision. I don’t have that call.”

If Chipper Jones‘ knee injury knocks him out of the lineup, there’s a chance that Prado could move to third base. Prado is a good defensive third baseman, and utility man Omar Infante plays better defense at second base than third.

Heyward expected to play Friday

Right fielder Jason Heyward was out of the lineup Wednesday for the second consecutive day with a sore right knee, but expects to play Friday after the Braves’ off-day today.

Heyward banged the knee on the ground when he attempted a sliding catch on a bloop single late in Monday’s series opener against Houston. The knee was sore when he took batting practice and ran Monday, and he decided it best to tell the Braves’ trainer rather than play through it and risk further injury. Cox said Heyward should be back in the lineup Friday.

O’Flaherty to begin rehab assignment

Lefty reliever Eric O’Flaherty threw batting practice for 10 minutes Wednesday, the final step before a rehab assignment that could be brief.

Cox said O’Flaherty would likely begin his assignment on Friday. He’s been on the DL since July 10 recovering from mononucleosis and needs at least a couple of rehab appearances before he’s activated.

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Heyward banged the knee on the ground when he attempted a sliding catch on a bloop single late in Monday’s series opener against Houston. The knee was sore when he took batting practice and ran Monday, and he decided it best to tell the Braves’ trainer rather than play through it and risk further injury. Cox said Heyward should be back in the lineup Friday.

That's the way it's done. The kid is learning.

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Martin Prado’s pinky felt much better Saturday hitting in the indoor cages, and he said if it responds well Sunday, he thought he would be ready for a rehabilitation game Monday in Gwinnett.

Prado had taken his first live batting practice Friday and felt discomfort. But a day later, he was much more encouraged.

“It went good,” Prado said. “I’m so much happier today that I could swing at least like 90 percent, and I didn’t change anything in my swing; that was me swinging. I’m glad.”

Prado said he would let the at-bats Monday in Gwinnett determine if he needs another rehabilitation game. But a best-case scenario would have him back in the Braves lineup Wednesday or Thursday against the Nationals.

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O’Flaherty update: Eric O’Flaherty is scheduled to throw his second minor league rehabilitation game Sunday in Gwinnett. Depending on how he feels, the Braves will decide if he’s ready to be activated from the disabled list.

O’Flaherty has been out of action for five weeks recovering from mononucleosis.

“I’ve got my strength back, I’ve got my weight back,” O’Flaherty said. “It’s just a matter of facing hitters and showing them I’m ready to get big league hitters out again.”

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