09/04/07 8:15 PM ET
Notes: Renteria nearing return
Shortstop cautious about rushing back into lineup
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
But having learned from the freak setback that he experienced two weeks ago, Renteria isn't making any guarantees about returning to the lineup when he becomes eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Friday.
"I don't know," said Renteria, whose game action has been limited to one pitch since he suffered a high right ankle sprain on Aug. 2. "I can't tell you for sure because I'm not sure."
Renteria's uncertainty stems from the fact he felt no discomfort in the three days leading up to his abbreviated Aug. 22 return from the disabled list. While shifting back and checking his swing on the first pitch he saw that night in Cincinnati, the veteran shortstop aggravated the ankle injury and consequently found himself back on the disabled list the next day.
Because Renteria didn't roll or cause significant trauma to the ankle, the hope is that these past two weeks have simply given the ankle further time to heal. When he suffered the injury originally, doctors told him that it would take three to four weeks to heal.
"Everything is stronger because I've had more time," said Renteria, whose .336 batting average still ranks second in the National League.
Given his production and what his presence means to the lineup, it's not too surprising that the Braves' postseason hopes haven't strengthened in Renteria's absence. Since he originally suffered the injury, they've gone 13-16. In the process, they've lost three games in the National League East standings and four games in the Wild Card chase. "Malo," Renteria said before translating his response to English to explain he's felt "really bad" while seeing his team put itself in an unenviable position.
Before Renteria was injured, the Braves had hit .277 with a .341 on-base percentage and .433 slugging percentage. Since the start of play on Aug. 3, they've hit .271 with a .334 on-base percentage and .458 slugging percentage.
While the numbers aren't dramatically different, it must be remembered that six of the 16 losses the Braves have suffered since Aug. 3 have been by one run. Nine of the losses have been by two runs or less.
Although it can seemingly be argued that one extra hit might have proven to be the difference in some of those losses, the always humble Renteria isn't saying things would have been different.
"I'm no Superman," Renteria said.
Prado promoted: Martin Prado has no problem with the fact that he won't be around to help his Triple-A Richmond teammates in their quest to win the International League championship. While with Atlanta for the rest of this month, the talented utility infielder hopes to be helping his teammates chase a bigger prize.
Knowing Prado's bat could prove to be a weapon off the bench, the Braves added the Venezuelan infielder to the expanded roster on Tuesday. Once Richmond concludes play, right-handed relievers Chad Paronto and Joey Devine and outfielder Gregor Blanco might also be called up to Atlanta.
After producing a single and a double in his first two at-bats of Monday's 3-2 win over Norfolk, Prado knew he was just one hit away from capturing the IL batting crown. He'd been told before the game that a 3-for-3 performance would push him ahead of Ben Francisco, who had been promoted to Cleveland earlier in the day.
But with his sixth-inning at-bat, Prado flew out to deep center field. He was immediately removed from the game, keeping his batting average at .316. Francisco won the title with a .318 mark.
"I was thinking about it too much," said Prado, who registered seven hits in the final 13 Major League at-bats he got in August.
Braves bits: Left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez has experienced the grueling rehab that follows Tommy John ligament replacement elbow surgery and now he's excited to know he'll be allowed to start playing catch in about three weeks. ... If Renteria tallies at least 39 more plate appearances this season, he'll qualify for the batting title. ... Braves first baseman Mark Teixeira was named the National League Player of the Month for August. During his first month in Atlanta, he hit .315 with 10 homers and 32 RBIs.
Coming up: The Braves will conclude their three-game series against the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon at 1:05 ET. They'll send Tim Hudson (15-7, 3.32) to the mound to oppose Kyle Kendrick (8-3, 3.79).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.