Braves’ Prado ‘not close to being ready’ to return

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Martin Prado, who underwent surgery on June 10 to remove a staph infection from his lower right leg and left knee, is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday.

Unfortunately for the Atlanta Braves, that’s not going to happen soon.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Prado is “not close to being ready,” and that the Braves have not been given a projected date for his return.

He is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, but is not close to being ready. Incisions are left open to heal after surgery for staph-infection removal, and Prado won’t be cleared to begin physical activity using his legs until the wound is closed.

Prado said recovery has been difficult, and that the pain “was brutal.” He spent the first week after surgery in bed with his leg elevated, and received antibiotics intravenously for four days.

Prado was an All-Star in 2010 when he hit .307 with 15 home runs and an .809 OPS. He’s hitting .277 with 8 home runs and 33 RBIs in 61 games this season.

The Braves are 12th in the NL in runs scored, but are the current NL wild-card leader at 41-33 thanks to a pitching staff that is allowing just 3.4 runs per game, second in the league.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).