Published July 31, 2010
CINCINNATI – Second baseman Martin Prado broke the second knuckle on his right pinkie finger while diving into home plate in the Atlanta Braves' latest win, an injury that will sideline the leadoff hitter for at least a week.
Prado jammed the hand while sliding hard into home plate Friday night during the 10th inning of a 6-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds. X-rays initially were inconclusive. Tests on Saturday found the fracture, which won't need surgery.
Prado is expected to be sidelined for a week to 10 days. Manager Bobby Cox said the team will take a day or two before deciding whether to put him on the 15-day disabled list.
"There's no swelling hardly, which is good," Cox said. "We're going to wait a day or two and see."
Even if it's temporary, it's still a big setback for the NL East leaders. Prado has a career-high 13 homers, leads the National League with 138 hits and ranks third in batting average at .315. He leads the majors with 44 multihit games.
He sat glumly watching video of Braves' at-bats on Saturday afternoon before the second game of their series against the Reds. His right hand was wrapped.
"I don't want to be out," Prado said. "The most important games are coming up. I want to be part of it."
The Braves led the NL East by a season-high seven games on July 22. They went into a 2-4 slump, and Philadelphia won eight in a row, cutting the lead to 2½. The victory on Friday night, combined with the Phillies' loss in Roy Oswalt's debut with them, pushed it to 3½ games again.
Prado said the finger got stuck in a small hole in the dirt around home plate when he dived headfirst, scoring on Jason Heyward's two-run double. He immediately grabbed the hand, thinking he had broken the finger.
"I felt it," he said. "It was not normal pain."
The injury is expected to affect his hitting more than his throwing. Prado is having one of his best seasons at the plate, reaching 100 hits this season in the second-fewest games in Braves history, doing it in his 69th game. Ralph Garr got 100 hits in 62 games in 1974.
Prado said he's more disappointed about how the injury could affect the team than his swing. Omar Infante played second base and batted leadoff on Saturday. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez was back in the lineup after missing two days with a stomach illness.
"I don't care about numbers," Prado said. "I care about first place. I think we have a team that can make the playoffs."