SAN DIEGO -- Martin Prado received some encouraging news Friday when Braves doctors evaluated him and cleared him to begin swinging off of a tee. This marked the first time he was allowed to begin participating in baseball-related activities since being diagnosed with a staph infection on June 9.
When Dr. Gary Lourie evaluated Prado at Turner Field Friday, he saw the open wound on Prado's right calf had significantly grown smaller. After cleaning the area and changing the dressing around the wound, he cleared Prado to begin taking swings.
Prado will hit off a tee again Sunday. Earlier this week he was cleared to attempt to start rebuilding his upper body strength with weight training. While sidelined over the past three weeks, the Braves left fielder has visibly lost some weight.
While it still seems too early pinpoint an exact return date, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said the club's medical staff told him Prado could return before the All-Star break. The wound will likely have to completely close before he is cleared to begin doing on-field baseball activities.
The Braves' medical staff was treating a cut on the top of Prado's left knee in the days before he showed them the area on his left calf that they immediately diagnosed as a staph infection.
Gonzalez doesn't blame hitting woes on Parrish
SAN DIEGO -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has been around the game long enough to know hitting coaches and pitching coaches are easy targets for disgruntled fans.
He has also been around baseball long enough to know what it's like to get fired both as a manager and a coach.
But while Gonzalez has said his offense hasn't lived up to its capability, he said he hasn't even thought about the possibility of firing hitting coach Larry Parrish, who joined the Braves after spending the previous 19 years in the Tigers' organization, primarily as a Minor League manager.
"I've never even thought about that kind of stuff because I've been a coach," Gonzalez said. "I think the best way to say it is that everybody has to share responsibility."
Braves general manager Frank Wren was responsible for hiring Parrish and has seen no reason to believe the former Major League outfielder should be shouldering the blame for the disappointing offense.
"He's spending a great deal of time with the players," Wren said. "Sometimes you can only do so much. He's doing everything he possibly can."
The Braves entered Saturday night's game against the Padres ranking as the National League's third least successful team in batting average (.238) and on-base percentage (.305). They had also tallied the 11th fewest runs in the Senior Circuit.
Last year, they led the Majors with a .338 on-base percentage and ranked sixth in the NL with a .258 batting average. They scored the fifth most runs in the Senior Circuit.
With the acquisition of Dan Uggla and the hope Freddie Freeman would prove more consistent over the entire season than Troy Glaus was in 2010, this year's offense was supposed to be even better. But with Uggla hitting .175 and Jason Heyward quieted for more than two months with a sore right shoulder, the results have led many to believe the Braves have underachieved so far.
Rookie Freeman handling skid well
SAN DIEGO -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has seen Freddie Freeman endure a maddening skid filled with strikeouts and plenty of productive at-bats of the past couple weeks. The span has only provided the remainder that the talented first baseman is still a rookie.
Still, even while striking out a team-high 28 times in 75 at-bats since June began, Freeman ranks second on the Braves this month in homers (3), batting average (.280) and RBIs (12). "He's a young kid," said Gonzalez. "He's going to go through stuff like this. To his credit, he has made everything around the game seem easy. He has handled his time really well and [Eric] Hinske has really helped him a lot with that."
Hinske served as a valuable mentor to Evan Longoria during the 2008 season and to Jason Heyward last year. The veteran utility player has spent this year attempting to help Freeman find a daily routine that allows him to make the proper preparations before every game.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.