ATLANTA -- Reliever Peter Moylan played catch during Thursday's light workout at Turner Field and remains on target to the return to the club in August.

"Every moment I get, I pick up a ball and practice my grips," Moylan said. "Today was nice to be able to let some go."

Moylan, who had back surgery May 17 for a herniated disc, threw two sets of 15 pitches between 45 and 60 feet. He may throw again on Friday or Saturday.

"There's no way that I could be further along. It's a time thing," Moylan said. "It's methodical. I've tried pushing at every stage. ... I am where I am and I haven't had any setbacks. This is as quick as I could possibly have gotten to where I'm at."

If Moylan continues his throwing program with no unforeseen issues, he'd likely return to the Braves sometime around mid-August.

"I guess with no setbacks it would probably be about a month or five weeks," Moylan said. "I don't know how quickly they're going to want to push me, but I haven't felt anything in my back. It feels amazing."

His return will bolster a bullpen that recently lost another pitcher who was rehabbing toward his return to the club, as right-hander Kris Medlen has been shut down for six weeks to rest his elbow.

"It is what it is. That one little area didn't heal correct," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I'm sure the competitor that he is, I'm sure he wanted to get in there."

Chipper progressing well after knee surgery

ATLANTA -- Third baseman Chipper Jones has responded well since his right knee surgery last Saturday and will begin hitting off a tee Friday at Turner Field.

"[I] went out and threw a little bit just now [and] felt fine," Jones said during Atlanta's workout Thursday. "I've felt fine for a few days now."

Jones is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on July 24 and is optimistic he'll be back by then. Once he clears the medical staff's tests, he'll begin soft toss in addition to hitting off a tee. From there, he may opt to stay with the club instead of going on a rehab assignment.

"[It's] still up in the air whether I go to Colorado or not," Jones said. "A lot depends on the Minor League teams and where they're at. Gwinnett is at home until Thursday. Rome is at home this weekend. If I feel like I'm game ready toward next weekend, I may go to Rome, but it's not a necessity as far as me playing rehab games. As long as I'm able to start working out in full here in the next couple of days, I may just skip the rehab assignment."

Jones has a "little irritation" behind the kneecap -- which is normal -- but he feels significantly better than he did while trying to play through the torn meniscus.

There was some wear and tear behind the kneecap, which was initially reported as a being cracked, but Jones clarified that report on Thursday.

"[The doctor] told me, 'You have a little crack behind the kneecap.' He meant a crack in the cartilage," Jones said. "When I think cracked, I think bone."

Prado expected back for Friday's opener

ATLANTA -- Martin Prado will return to the lineup Friday against the Nationals after being out for more than a month with a staph infection in his right calf.

Prado, who last played on June 7 in Miami, wrapped up a seven-game rehab assignment Thursday night with Double-A Mississippi. He played six games in five days with Triple-A Gwinnett before moving to Mississippi for the final two days of his rehab.

"[I've received] great reports. Yesterday, [I] talked to Rocket Wheeler, the Double-A manager," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "[Prado is] running good. He wanted to get another game in, get some more at-bats. He went first-to-third on a ball in left field."

The plan is for Prado to man third base while Chipper Jones is on the 15-day disabled list.

"[I'm] always excited to get Martin back," Jones said. "He's a good player and he's going to make our team better. He's one of those emotional guys on the club. You need your class clowns and you also need your intensity guys. He's one of our intensity guys -- not to mention he's an All-Star. It'll almost be like getting a free-agent pickup after the All-Star break."

Entering Thursday, Prado was 4-for-21 (.190) with two RBIs, four walks and four runs scored. But that's of no concern to Gonzalez.

"That's not a worry," Gonzalez said. "For me, it's just to make sure his legs are OK and he's running well. He's fine."

Hanson's second-half start bumped up one day

ATLANTA -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez has decided to push All-Star pitcher Jair Jurrjens back one day, and fellow right-hander Tommy Hanson will take his place for Saturday's start against the Nationals.

Jurrjens pitched 1 2/3 innings in Tuesday's All-Star Game, retiring the first six batters he faced before departing after Kevin Youkilis hit a two-out single.

"He can come back and probably throw a light side [session Friday] and be ready to go," Gonzalez said.

Tim Hudson, who last started on July 7 against the Rockies, will kick off the second half of the season on the mound. Hanson and Jurrjens will follow before Derek Lowe and Brandon Beachy start the first two games in Colorado.

"That's why I didn't want to tinker too much," Gonzalez said, "because you start tinkering and then there's some guys that haven't gone in 10 or 12 [days]."