PHILADELPHIA -- Takashi Saito understands that he has a few more hurdles to clear before being able to begin pitching again this year. But the reliever was relieved to learn he at least might have this opportunity.
An MRI exam performed in Atlanta on Monday revealed no structural damage in Saito's right shoulder. The Braves believe tendinitis likely caused the discomfort that forced the 40-year-old reliever to exit Friday night's appearance at Citi Field.
Saito rejoined the Braves in Philadelphia on Tuesday and plans to test his shoulder with a bullpen session at Nationals Park on Friday afternoon. If he shows no reason for concern, Saito could be cleared to pitch by the end of the weekend.
"I'm just glad that there's no major problems," Saito said through his interpreter. "Having said that, I still need to play catch and throw in the bullpen. So I've still got a few more steps to take before I know I'm ready."
Saito admits that he thought about the possibility that his career might have been over when he exited Friday's appearance against the Mets. But at the same time, he said he remained hopeful that he could rejoin the Braves and aid them in this postseason chase.
"I'm 40 already," Saito said. "So mentally, I've been prepared for my season to come to an end. But all my teammates here are playing hard and I just want [to do what] I can to contribute to the team."
Jurrjens' discomfort due to tear; outlook good
PHILADELPHIA -- The Braves received encouraging news Tuesday, when an MRI exam revealed that Jair Jurrjens' right knee discomfort is a product of a small meniscus tear that might not prevent him from missing any additional starts.
"It's a small, horizontal meniscus tear, very small," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He should be able to make his next start."
Jurrjens will test his knee during a bullpen session Friday at Nationals Park. If all goes well, he'll retake his spot in the rotation for Sunday's series finale against Washington. If the Braves feel he needs a few more days to rest, Brandon Beachy will once again start in his place.
"It's not on the inside or the outside, which is dynamite," Cox said. "It is where it is. It's not a flap tear. It's just real small."
Because the minor tear extends across his meniscus and not vertically, Jurrjens likely won't have to deal with the locking discomfort caused by a tear that causes the meniscus to flap.
Jurrjens felt the discomfort after completing a bullpen session at Citi Field on Friday night. When his knee didn't respond well during a light bullpen session Monday afternoon, Beachy learned that he was four hours away from making his Major League debut against the Phillies.
Beachy allowed the Phillies three runs -- one earned -- in 4 1/3 innings. The two unearned runs allowed in the fifth inning came after Jason Heyward was unable to secure a Shane Victorino fly ball that resulted in a three-base error.
"[Beachy] did great considering the circumstances," Cox said.
Prado's struggles of no concern to Cox
PHILADELPHIA -- Braves manager Bobby Cox knows that Martin Prado is still bothered by the right pinky finger that he fractured on July 30. But he said he hasn't seen any reason to be concerned while his All-Star second baseman has spent the past week experiencing some uncharacteristic offensive struggles.
"His at-bats are always good," Cox said.
Luck certainly hasn't been on Prado's side recently. After his potential game-tying homer went just foul during the seventh inning of Monday night's loss to the Phillies, Prado produced a sharp grounder that resulted in his second double-play groundout of the night.
Prado batted .321 with an .831 OPS in the first 25 games he played after returning from the disabled list on Aug. 17. But in the 12 games that had followed entering Tuesday, he had batted .152 (5-for-33) with one extra-base hit (a double) and a .152 on-base percentage.
It wasn't a coincidence that the Braves chose to give Brandon Beachy No. 37. That was the jersey number worn by Jim Beauchamp during his days on Bobby Cox's coaching staff. "Beach," a longtime beloved member of the Braves organization, passed away in 2007 after a long battle with leukemia. ... Billy Wagner needs two more strikeouts to pass Rollie Fingers and gain sole possession of fourth place on the all-time strikeout list for Major League relievers. ... Double-A Mississippi pitching coach Marty Reed joined the Braves on Tuesday to take his turn as one of September's extra coaches.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.