SAN FRANCISCO — Because Martin Prado was traded in January and his Diamondbacks have spring training is in Arizona, Braves players will see their former teammate for the first time Monday when they open a three-game series at Phoenix. There will be hugs.
“If you’re not looking forward to seeing Martin, you’re not a very good person,” Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said. “He’s one of my favorites of all time. I’m excited to see him.”
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he talked to Prado on the phone a few times after the trade that sent him to Arizona with pitcher Randall Delgado and three minor leaguers in exchange for slugger Justin Upton and Chris Johnson. He said Prado was initially shocked by the news.
“Then you start having conversations and talk about how this is a business,” Gonzalez said. “I think he’s fine…. I never thought he would not fit in in Arizona. I knew they would embrace him in a heartbeat.”
Prado has already become a cohesive clubhouse presence and team leader with the Diamondbacks, despite his slow start. He hit .230 with four homers, nine RBIs and a .280 on-base percentage in 36 games before Sunday.
In the Braves clubhouse, you can’t find anyone who played with him in Atlanta who doesn’t say he’s one of best teammates they ever had.
“That’s because he is,” Uggla said. “He’s awesome every day. He’s funny every day. He’s the same dude every day. He plays his butt off. He’s just Martin, you know?
“He’d talk to anybody as though he’d known them for years, make them feel like they’re cool. If they’re having a bad day, they’re not going to have a bad day after being around Prado.”
Jason Heyward went 2-for-4 with two singles, three RBIs and two strikeouts Sunday while serving as designated hitter in his third rehab game for Triple-A Gwinnett. The right fielder had an appendectomy April 22 and could rejoin the Braves in the next week. Team officials said there was no timetable and the decision would be up to Heyward, as far as when he feels ready to return….
Brandon Beachy, nearly 11 months into recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery, is set to make his first rehab start in an extended-spring training game Tuesday. Barring any setbacks, he’ll make the first of about six minor-league starts next Sunday and could rejoin the Braves rotation in mid-to-late June….
The lineup Sunday was the 29th different one for the Braves in 37 games, not including the pitcher’s spot.