Hello everyone from steamy southeast Michigan, where I’m thinking of launching a triage facility for fallen Braves players. It’s getting so bad you can’t tell the injured players without a scorecard. So I thought I’d lay out a quick overview for everyone.
The most surprising injury for me is Martin Prado. While we were all being told that he was only going to miss a game or two from being hit in the knee while stealing second base, it turns out he was also being treated for a “raspberry” on his leg. Unfortunately, a staph infection has set in, causing Martin to be moved to the 15 day DL. While these infections can be very nasty, especially in light of MRSA (flesh eating/antibiotic resistant bacteria), the Braves say that they caught this early and that everything is going to work out fine.
Moving on, there’s been no news on Chipper Jones and his bad “good knee”. With his breakout performance last night from the left-hand side of the plate (three hits, including a HR), let’s hope he’s figured out a way to play through the pain effectively.
Turning to Jason Heyward, he hit from a tee on Friday, taking 70 strokes without issue. He’s going to start facing live pitching as soon as today back in Orlando, but don’t look for him to return anytime soon. Fredi Gonzalez has been quoted several times that he’s not coming back until Jason’s at 100%, regardless of Chipper’s 80% quote.
Nate McLouth is also taking cuts off a tee, but I haven’t heard any speculation on his return date. With the effective play of Jordan Schafer, I wouldn’t look for the Braves to rush McLouth back. If he does come back, don’t be surprised to see it be in a reserve role.
On the pitching front, it sounds great for Brandon Beachy. He’s going to throw a simulated game today for three innings. Look for another simulated game or two, then two or three rehab starts. I’ve heard speculation that he could be back at the end of June, but the math looks longer than that to me, unless there’s a bit of obfuscation going on (how do you like that big word, huh? on the part of the Braves for a bit of competitive advantage. Honestly, Mike Minor seems to have found both confidence and that mysterious 3 MPH on his fastball. I think he’ll fill in just fine.
Finally, a word on Kris Medlen. There were reports of a setback last week, but it turns out to be nothing more than the normal process of scar tissue breaking loose. It still looks like a possible early return for Kris, maybe as early as late July. The question is what role will he play? He could replace Cristhian Martinez as a long man/spot starter, but I’m not sure that would be a big upgrade as Kris works to build his strength back up. All these major league quality starters sure smell like trade bait to me (does trade bait smell like fish bait, by the way; just curious ). I guess we’ll see soon.
That’s my take; what’s yours?