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Martin Prado Nearing Return To Braves Lineup

Martin Prado has been out of the Braves' lineup since June 9 with a staph infection near his right calf, but he received some good news this past news regarding his leg's progress. After undergoing surgery more than two weeks ago to remove the infection, Prado and the Braves coaching staff have learned the cut has continued the close up the last few days and the outfielder will be cleared to take batting practice as early as Friday.

Prado has been able to do various workouts for the past week, but his injured knee has held him out of any rigorous activity. Some had Martin pegged to make his return after the All-Star Game, but if everything goes well in batting practice and workouts this weekend, he could potentially start his rehab assignment as early as next Monday. The assignment would likely last at least two or three days, which might allow the outfielder to make his return on July 8 as the club travels to Philadelphia for a huge 3-game series.

Simply put, Atlanta needs Martin Prado in the lineup on a nightly basis. He's been our second best hitter all season long and his defense in left field has been solid. With him, our lineup looks pretty potent. Without him, well, we've all seen the struggles this team has gone through for the last few weeks.

Stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta for any other updates on Martin Prado and his journey back to Atlanta.

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