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."