Braves lose Prado for remainder of year

Braves lose Prado for remainder of year

ATLANTA -- If Martin Prado had his way, he'd try to keep playing.

Unfortunately, following his MRI exam Tuesday afternoon, he doesn't have that choice.

"He can hardly walk right now," manager Bobby Cox said after the Braves' 3-2 win over the Marlins. "Knowing him, he would try."

It's Prado's worst fear realized. The Braves All-Star infielder will miss the remainder of this season.

After he suffered a left hip pointer in Monday night's win over the Marlins, results from an MRI revealed that Prado has a torn left external oblique muscle that essentially erased any hope he had to participate in the postseason.

The Braves announced Prado will require at least two months of rehab.

"He has to rest for two months, then start rehabbing," Cox said. "He has two problems."

This adds to the list of serious injuries suffered by Braves players over the course of the past two months. Prado was moved to third base after Chipper Jones tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Aug. 10.

"It's a big blow, obviously," said Tim Hudson. "We've been hit pretty hard with the injury bug. Nobody around here is going to use that as an excuse. We've still got to go out there and play, and we still feel like we can win and get to the postseason. Obviously our lineup isn't full-go like it was earlier in the year, but we still feel like we can go out there and scratch and win."

With Prado sidelined, the Braves will use Brooks Conrad as their primary third baseman. Diory Hernandez would serve as the next best defensive option at third. Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske could play the hot corner in an emergency situation.

The Braves, who head into Wednesday afternoon's series finale with Florida 1 1/2 games ahead of the Padres in the National League Wild Card race with four games to play, have confidence in Conrad et al., but realize the loss of Prado is still big.

"Any time you lose a guy hitting .310, you lose an All-Star like him, yeah, it's going to be tough," said catcher Brian McCann. "But we've got the best bench in the game. That is a big reason we're in the position we're in."

Prado seemingly suffered the hip pointer and oblique tear while going across his body and leaping to grab Dan Uggla's fourth-inning line drive in Monday's game.

One inning later, Prado landed on his hip again and slowly rose to his feet. During the bottom of the fifth, he hit a chopper back to the mound and then went to the ground after taking just a step or two out of the batter's box.

Prado finishes the season hitting .307 (tied for sixth in the NL), with 58 multihit games (second), 40 doubles (sixth) and 184 hits (tied for second).

The finality of the announcement of Prado's season wasn't a complete surprise but hurt nonetheless.

"You could tell he was in a whole lot of pain coming off the field," said Conrad. "So we all kind of had that feeling that it would probably be a while before he'd come back. We didn't know it would be the whole rest of the season. It's a real tough loss for us. Everybody else on the team will have to step it up to fill his spot."

"When he got here today, he felt better," said Cox. "Last night, he could actually do a sit-up and some leg lifts, and we felt decent about it, but we had to get the MRI to find out."

Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.