ATLANTA -- Martin Prado notched the 30 plate appearances he wanted to register during his Minor League rehab assignment. But when he was activated from the disabled list and put back in the Braves' starting lineup Friday night, Prado was still concerned that he might not be quite ready for Major League competition.
This shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who has come to realize Prado always feels he could have done a little more in his pursuit of perfection.
"My hitting is not there yet," Prado said before Friday's game. "But I've been working way too hard to get the results. I'm not going to see the results in one day, but I'm glad I'm feeling good and ready to go."
A few hours later, as the Braves celebrated an 11-1 win -- the 10,000th victory in franchise history -- over the Nationals, Prado was justifiably wearing a smile. Showing no signs of rust, he aided the victory with a two-hit performance that was highlighted by a fourth-inning leadoff homer.
"I probably just got lucky tonight," Prado said.
Prado's return to the lineup energized the Braves, who had been without his valuable bat since he was diagnosed with a staph infection on June 9. The ailment limited the former All-Star second baseman's physical activity for more than two weeks and prevented him from swinging a bat for nearly three full weeks.
When Prado began his rehab assignment with Gwinnett last week, he had not played in a game in more than a month. Thus, there wasn't much reason to be concerned that he combined to hit .192 (5-for-26) while spending the past week primarily playing third base for Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi.
Prado said he spent most of his time during the rehab simply attempting to reintroduce himself to the strike zone and reacquainting himself to the speed of the game.
While it would have been understood had he shown some rust Friday night, Prado didn't exactly shock his teammates by coming back and providing immediate dividends.
"He's such a pro," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "The approach he gives you. He made some nice plays at third base also. It was nice to see all the way around."
Chipper tests knee for first time since surgery
ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones' right knee felt a little heavy as he attempted to complete some modified sprints at Turner Field on Friday afternoon. But considering he is less than a week removed from arthroscopic surgery, the 39-year-old third baseman was happy with the results.
Testing the knee for the first time since Dr. Marvin Royster repaired a torn meniscus via a surgical procedure last Saturday, Jones ran about 10 40-yard sprints at 50 percent, took about 25 swings off a tee left-handed, fielded some grounders hit directly at him and played catch.
"It was sore. I got that heavy-leg feeling like my right leg was five pounds heavier than my left leg, which is normal," Jones said. "The big thing will be how it responds tomorrow."
As long as Jones feels good, he would like to perform similar exercises before Saturday afternoon's game with the Nationals. He was encouraged that his knee started to feel better as he progressed through Friday's workout.
"I'm sore now, but that's a lot six days post-op," Jones said. "I want to know what I can do. If it's a little sore tomorrow we'll back off and I'll get back at it Sunday."
Jones played nearly two months after learning that he had a torn meniscus in his right knee. But given a chance to spend some of his recovery time during the All-Star break, he opted to undergo the minor surgical procedure last weekend. He is hoping to return to the Braves' lineup around July 26.
Ross likely to catch Hudson until September
ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez toyed with the idea of having David Ross serve as Jair Jurrjens' personal catcher earlier this year. Since ditching that idea, he has decided that it's best to pair Ross with Tim Hudson for at least the next six weeks.
After making his sixth consecutive All-Star appearance and serving as the National League's starting catcher in Tuesday night's All-Star Game, Brian McCann returned to the Braves Friday and found himself resting as Ross served as Hudson's catcher against the Nationals.
Ross has now served as Hudson's catcher in five straight starts and will likely continue to fill that role until at least September, when it might be more important to put McCann's bat in the lineup than to provide Hudson familiarity with Ross behind the plate.
"I think when we give [McCann] a regular day, he's come back pretty fresh," Gonzalez said. "So why not pick a guy they're comfortable with?"
Entering Friday's start against the Nationals, Hudson had posted a 1.70 ERA in six games with Ross behind the plate and a 4.69 ERA in 12 games with McCann behind the plate.
This certainly doesn't mean Hudson can't prove successful with either catcher. Last year, he posted a 2.88 in 24 games with McCann behind the plate and a 2.73 mark in 11 games with Ross behind the dish.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.