07/14/12 11:04 PM ET
Braves benefiting from Prado's versatility
By Jon Cooper / Special to MLB.com
"Hey, skipper," Ross yelled so that Martin Prado, standing to his left talking to the press, could hear. "I don't want to see Prado blocking balls and stuff."
Friday night's 7-5 win over the Mets started with Prado in his customary -- at least as customary as any position is for him -- left field with the understanding he'd be the emergency backup shortstop.
"For some reason today, skipper came up to me and said, 'Take a couple of ground balls at shortstop,'" said Prado. 'You never know. If something happens to Jack [Wilson], you'll be the emergency one.'"
That emergency came with one out in the fourth inning, when Wilson dislocated a joint in his right pinky finger. Wilson was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.
But the "worst-case scenario" became a blessing in disguise, as three batters later, with the score 5-4 and runners at first and second, Mets catcher Josh Thole's bid for a game-tying single up the middle became an inning-ending forceout, when Prado ranged to his left, speared the ball and made a backhanded flip to second baseman Dan Uggla.
Prado had saved the day ... again.
"He's a Jack of all trades," said third baseman Chipper Jones. "We're lucky to have him, because he's saved our bacon more times than I can count over the years with his ability to be able to play every infield spot and a couple of outfield spots."
"He's that kind of player that a lot of times you take for granted, what he can bring for you," added pitcher Tim Hudson. "[Friday] was a perfect example of the ways he can help you win."
But although the expression "Jack of all trades" is most often followed by the cynical "master of none," Prado has proven to be a master of all.
"He plays the game like he's in the backyard," said Gonzalez. "We all played Wiffle ball, we all played pickup games, 'Yeah, I'll play short today. I'll play second.' That's the way he plays the game, and you feel comfortable that he can do the job."
Prado is a .980 career fielder -- .994 at first base, .982 at second and .963 at third. He's a .983 outfielder, after one-plus year out there and while juggling the other spots.
Saturday afternoon's game against New York is Prado's fourth career game at short, a position that prior to last night he'd played twice, in 2008.
Prado, who is hitting .316 with a team-high 33 multi-hit games, will likely be the shortstop until the Braves come up with a long-term solution should the injuries to Andrelton Simmons and Wilson linger.
After that it's back to left or third or first or second or wherever there's a hole that needs filling.
"Our bullpen is good right now. I'm not pitching," Prado said, and smiled. "Someday I'm hoping before I retire that I can pitch one inning."
Overruled call goes Braves' way
ATLANTA -- The eighth-inning rally by the Braves in Saturday's 8-7 win over the Mets might not have been enough if not for the events of the fifth inning.
Atlanta had Martin Prado at first when Jason Heyward lofted a ball into shallow left-center. Mets left fielder Jordany Valdespin came in on the ball and made a sliding attempt. Crew chief and third-base umpire Dale Scott ruled it a catch. Valdespin got up and threw to first, apparently doubling Prado.
"I had the attempted catch, but [Valdespin's] body was between me and him, so I never had any evidence that he didn't catch the ball, but I never had a good look at it," said Scott. "I called it a catch. Immediately, I saw [second-base umpire] Bill Miller and [home-plate umpire] Dan Iassogna coming at me, as we're instructed to do when we have something that's completely different from what happened. We got together as a crew. We definitely had the ball bouncing."
Prado was awarded second base, where he had been standing when the original call had been made, and Heyward was awarded first.
Mets manager Terry Collins came out to argue the play and was ejected.
The reversal turned out to be big, as both runners would score later in the inning on Freddie Freeman's double.
McCann calls son's birth 'coolest moment' of his life
ATLANTA -- One day after witnessing the birth of his first son, Colt, catcher Brian McCann was all smiles as he discussed the event.
"Everybody tells you the experience that you're going to have is the best," McCann said. "But going through it was by far the coolest moment and experience of my life."
Colt, who weighed in at seven pounds and two ounces, was delivered on Friday at Northside Hospital. McCann expressed pride in his wife, Ashley, and the way she handled the delivery.
"It was 25 minutes of pushing," he said. "The [doctors and nurses] couldn't believe how quick and easy everything was. That was a good sign. It was a good delivery. Everybody's healthy. I'm extremely excited."
McCann admitted to getting a lift from a video sent to him by David Ross prior to the game.
"It made my day," he said. "I got it, like, 5:30, before the game. It was awesome. All those guys were screaming. I wanted to be here, but obviously, I couldn't. To have their support was great."
Ross further made McCann's day with his three-run homer in the third inning.
"I was screaming, and the nurse was in there. She obviously didn't know who I was," he said. "I'm watching the game and he hits the homer and I'm jumping up and down. She's like, 'What are you so invested in this game for?' I was like, 'Yeah, I play there.'"
Not surprisingly, sleep was at a premium for McCann on Friday night, but that was as much his choice as anything.
"The excitement and the fact that it's hard to take your eyes off him," he said. "I was just in amazement. From when we got into the hospital until he was born, everything was just surreal."
To make room for Sunday starter Ben Sheets, Atlanta optioned Randall Delgado to Triple-A Gwinnett. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said that the plan is to have Delgado start on Monday for the G-Braves against the Indianapolis Indians, then call him back up and use him in one game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Nationals in Washington. A new rule instituted this year allows teams to call up an extra player for a doubleheader. Delgado will be that player.
With Jack Wilson going on the disabled list, his spot on the roster will be taken by shortstop Paul Janish, acquired earlier in the day in a trade that sent Minor League pitcher Todd Redmond to the Reds.
Sheets is 4-2 with a 4.56 ERA lifetime against the Mets but hasn't faced them since Sept. 1, 2008, when he was a member of the Brewers. He took a no-decision in the 4-2 loss but pitched well, throwing five shutout innings and allowing only two hits. Current Mets Daniel Murphy and David Wright went a combined 0-for-4 against him. Coincidentally, the pitcher for the Mets that day was Johan Santana, who also starts on Sunday.
Rookie Luis Avilan made his Major League debut in the top of the sixth inning on Saturday. He pitched a third of an inning but recorded a big out, striking out Ike Davis with runners on first and second, ending the Mets' three-run rally and keeping the Braves down by only one run.
Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.