Martin Prado feels pain in broken finger during batting practice

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Not exactly what you want to hear if you are Braves fan. According to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Martin Prado felt pain in his broken right pinky finger when he took batting practice indoors Friday.

“The vibration is bothering me,” Prado said. “It stings a little bit.”

“They told me it won’t be easy,” Prado said. “It’s not going to go away.
I’m just trying to get all my strength back. A little bit of pain won’t
be a problem.”

Prado is eligible to return from the disabled list on Sunday, however Braves manager Bobby Cox doesn’t think his All-Star second baseman will be ready that quickly. For now, Prado will see how his finger responds on Saturday. The good news is that hasn’t had any issues fielding ground balls or soft-tossing thus far. 

“I wish I could tell you how long it’s going to take,” Prado said. “I’m going to do as much as I can to get back.”

Prado was batting .315/.357/.484 with 13 homers and 43 RBI before going on the disabled list on July 31.

The Braves haven’t vocalized a clear plan on a replacement at third base now that Chipper Jones is lost for the season and Prado’s recovery likely plays a part in that. The ideal scenario would be to keep Omar Infante at second base and move Prado over to third, but it won’t be realistic if he doesn’t feel comfortable making long throws across the diamond. 

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.