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Martin Prado Activated, Hitting and Playing Third

Martin Prado, the Braves All-Star second basemen and former leadoff man, has been activated from the disabled list after an 18 day stint. Prado broke a knuckle on his right pinky against the Cincinnati Reds on July 30. 

Since Prado has been out, Omar Infante has played second base and batted first in the lineup. In Prado's absence, Infante has hit .357 with an on base percentage of .375 and four extra base hits. Infante had a hit in all but one of the 16 games since the injury to Martin. Because of Infante's success in the leadoff spot, the Braves have decided to move Prado and his substantially better power into the third spot of the lineup. Since Chipper Jones, the regular third hitter, is out for the year, Prado is essentially taking over his role offensively and defensively.

Speaking of which, the team has decided to move Prado to third base with Infante staying at second. Prado has played 86 career major league games at third base and has a UZR/150 of 8.3 at the position. Normally, you would like to judge that specific defensive metric on more games, but Prado has been better at that position than he has at second, where he has a -8.1 UZR/150 in 198 games. In contrast, Omar Infante has a -1.9 UZR/150 in 298 games at second base, so it looks as if the Braves made the correct call.

Although losing Chipper at the plate hurts a ton offensively, they do now have a better infield defense. This means a lot with ground ball specialists like Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe pitching every two out of five games.

This will move Brooks Conrad to a role he is more accustomed to. He will see a few spot starts and will be one of the primary pinch-hit options now that Prado is back, which fits Conrad and his late inning heroics perfectly. This also allows Alex Gonzalez to move into a more 

The Philadelphia Phillies also got back their second basemen today, Chase Utley, so it will be important for Prado to come back strong as the Braves enter the stretch run of the season.

Come talk Braves and Prado's comeback at Talking Chop before and during tonight's game against the Washington Nationals. Here is the Braves lineup tonight against Scott Olsen and the Nats, with Mike Minor making his Turner Field debut.

1. Omar Infante, 2B
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Martin Prado, 2B
4. Matt Diaz, LF
5. Troy Glaus, 1B
6. Alex Gonzalez, SS
7. Melky Cabrera, CF
8. David Ross, C
9. Mike Minor

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.