But it didn't take long for Diaz and the Braves to realize the first thought might be the more realistic one.
After Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park, the Braves announced that Diaz is going on the 15-day disabled list with a left knee injury. The original diagnosis is that he suffered a posterior cruciate ligament strain. When he returns to Atlanta on Wednesday, the 30-year-old outfielder will get a better idea of the severity of his injury.
"He's going to be out a while," manager Bobby Cox said of his outfielder, who has been battling to find the form that helped him hit a combined .333 over the previous two seasons.
Diaz suffered the injury when he slid into the wall in an attempt to catch Prince Fielder's long fly into foul territory along the left-field line. His left knee hit the unpadded portion of the wall, causing the ligament trauma and creating a laceration that required four stitches.
Still Diaz finished the inning and even attempted to reach with a bunt single with one out in the seventh inning. He said on his fourth stride down the first-base line that he could tell something might be structurally wrong.
"When I got up and started moving around it started to feel better," Diaz said. "But when I laid that bunt down and tried to run that out, I could feel it give."
His willingness to play through the pain wasn't ignored by his teammates. "It just shows you what kind of guy that he is," Braves catcher Brian McCann said.
Diaz suffered a PCL strain during his Minor League days and was sidelined for six weeks. The Braves will have a better timetable for his return once their doctors get a chance to evaluate him.
Cox said the team expects to activate Rafael Soriano from the disabled list to take Diaz's roster spot.
With Diaz absent and Mark Kotsay battling a sore back, Omar Infante may start seeing more time in the outfield. Gregor Blanco will likely see time in left or center on an everyday basis.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less