Notes: Prado called up
Infielder promoted from Triple-A, starts at second against Sox
BOSTON -- Braves manager Bobby Cox seldom waits to get guys just promoted from the Minor Leagues into his lineup. Thus, it wasn't too much of a surprise to find that he named Martin Prado as his starting second baseman for Sunday afternoon's Interleague series finale against the Red Sox.
Prado was recalled from Triple-A Richmond to take the roster spot previously held by Anthony Lerew, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a sore right elbow.
Shortly after arriving at Fenway Park early Sunday morning, Prado learned that he was starting at second in place of Kelly Johnson, who broke out of a recent skid by finishing a single short of the cycle in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader.
"I wasn't expecting it," Prado said. "Mentally, I was thinking, 'When I get into the lineup, I'm going to do the same thing that I was doing down [at Triple-A Richmond].'"
Since they had questions concerning the health of Lerew and John Smoltz, their two starters in Saturday's doubleheader, the Braves had filled their roster with 13 pitchers and 12 position players. Prado's promotion provides them with their regular roster makeup.
"We only had three guys on the bench," Cox said. "We wanted to get a guy we could bring off the bench and actually [start] as well. I don't know how long we're going to get to keep [Prado]. But he fills the need right now. He's a good player. He's a Major League player."
For now, it appears that Prado's future at the Major League level will be as a utility player. At Richmond this year, he was hitting .301 (41-for-136) with 10 extra-base hits, none of which were homers. In just 33 at-bats against lefties, Prado was hitting .333, while against right-handers, he batted .291 (30-for-103).
During Prado's stay in Atlanta, he'll provide the Braves with another right-handed bat off their bench and is somebody capable of playing each of the infield positions.
Cox said his reasoning for putting Prado in Sunday's lineup was to give Johnson some rest. The skipper had planned to do so this past Thursday, when he was forced to put Johnson into that game in the sixth inning as part of a double-switch.
With Monday's scheduled off-day, Johnson should be well rested when he returns to second base on Tuesday for the start of a three-game series against the Mets.
Lerew's future: After the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, Cox indicated that Lerew's exit after two innings wasn't prompted by a medical issue. Then about five minutes later, the 24-year-old hurler admitted that his right elbow has been bothering him for more than a month.
Obviously still thinking Lerew was healthy enough to pitch, Cox gave him the option of returning to Richmond to continue pitching.
"I gave him a choice," Cox said. "[He could] go down and pitch and get back up here or go on the disabled list. He chose the disabled list."
Cox's words provided indication that he certainly wasn't happy with Lerew, whose aloof personality has caused some to compare him to the Nuke LaLoosh character from the movie "Bull Durham."
Andruw assumes sixth spot: With his stiff back healthy enough for him to play on Sunday, Andruw Jones began his stint in the sixth spot of the lineup. For now, he doesn't appear to be too upset about Cox's decision to move him out of the cleanup spot.
"I don't care," Jones said. "It's not the first time that it's happened. So it's not really a big deal."
Cox isn't saying if he plans to make this as a permanent lineup change. In the interim, he'll likely use Jeff Francoeur as his cleanup hitter against left-handers and Brian McCann against right-handers.
Entering Sunday, Jones was hitting .219 and was on pace to register a career-high 177 strikeouts. During the month of May, he's hitting .159 (10-for-63) with a .238 slugging percentage and one homer.
Jones' back has occasionally bothered him over the past couple of seasons. He tweaked it when he slipped while catching a fly ball in the rain-soaked outfield on Saturday afternoon.
Cormier update: Lance Cormier allowed four earned runs and four hits while working three innings in a Minor League rehab start for Double-A Mississippi on Saturday night. He worked perfect innings in the first and third innings, and some of the second-inning damage was supplied by Tennessee starting pitcher Mark Holliman's homer.
Cox says Cormier, who has been on the disabled list all season with a strained right triceps muscle, will make at least two more rehab starts.
Francoeur brings tears: When he homered over the Green Monster in the seventh inning of Saturday's first game, Francoeur caused both his grandmother, Rita Francoeur, and his father, David, to shed a few tears.
Between David and his mother sat an empty seat reserved for Conrad Francoeur -- the Braves right fielder's grandfather who passed away in September.
"They said when I hit it, my grandmother just started crying," Francoeur said. "My dad, who is a pretty tough guy, actually had some tears coming down his eyes. It was great. You know it meant a lot to them and to me."
Braves bits: Chipper Jones was given somewhat of a day off, serving as the designated hitter for Sunday's series finale. ... According to a formula devised by the Elias Sports Bureau, the Braves' Interleague schedule ranks as the toughest in the Majors. ... Elias also said that Saturday's doubleheader split was a bit of a rarity. The only previous time in the past 60 years that teams had split a twin bill with separate double-digit victories was on July 28, 1978, when the Yankees and Indians traded lopsided victories.
Coming up: The Braves will open a three-game series against the Mets at Turner Field on Tuesday night. They'll send Kyle Davies (1-2, 5.17 ERA) to the mound to face ex-Brave Jorge Sosa (3-0, 2.25).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.