ATLANTA — The three-day break for the All-Star game wasn’t long enough to allow the Atlanta Braves to regroup at full strength for an off-day workout on Thursday.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar took infield practice, but his sore left shoulder prevented him from taking batting practice. Escobar seems unlikely to start when the Braves open a home series against Washington tonight.
Left-hander Tom Glavine had been pointing at the All-Star break as the time he could move closer to his return from a strained left elbow, but he still hasn’t thrown off a mound. Glavine said Thursday he plans to do that on Saturday for the first time since going on the disabled list on June 11.
"After that, I don’t know," Glavine said. "The key thing now is to get some arm strength. I don’t know how long that’s going to take."
Said Braves manager Bobby Cox on Glavine’s schedule: "It’s going to be a while."
Glavine said he has felt less discomfort in the elbow than expected after throwing on flat ground.
"I really haven’t felt much, maybe a little soreness the day after I throw two days in a row, but it goes away relatively quickly," Glavine said.
Left-hander Mike Hampton was
examined by the Braves medical staff in Atlanta on Thursday. Hampton aggravated a groin injury while pitching in a minor league rehab game with Double-A Mississippi on Wednesday.
"It’s too bad," Cox said. "He’s been throwing the ball well. The groin got him again. His next start could have been up here. That’s too bad."
The groin injury was not considered severe, but it’s another setback for Hampton, who made the starting rotation out of spring training before suffering a strained left pectoral in the Turner Field bullpen before his first scheduled start.
Hampton has had two elbow surgeries since he last pitched in the major leagues in August, 2005.
The Braves listed Hampton as day to day.
Left fielder Matt Diaz was with the team for Thursday’s workout but wasn’t activated off the disabled list.
Diaz, who has been out since May 28 with a strained posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, has struggled to adjust to his brace.
When asked if he believes Diaz is ready, Cox said "I can’t say. I know he had trouble playing with that brace."
Diaz worked out Thursday while wearing a lighter, less restrictive brace.
"I feel fine. I feel good," Diaz said before adding "I don’t know if I’ll be 100 percent the rest of the season. ... I feel I can come in and give a quality at-bat. I’m ready to help when they want me."
Diaz, who was hitting .231 with one homer in seven games at Mississippi, may return for more rehab games this week.
The Braves may have better news from closer Rafael Soriano, whose fastball was timed at 93 miles per hour in a summer league game in the Dominican Republic on Thursday. Soriano has battled elbow soreness since spring training.
Soriano was expected to be back with the team today for an evaluation.
"We’ll see how he feels, face to face," Cox said.
When asked if Soriano could come off the disabled list this weekend, Cox said "I’m not too sure."
Mike Gonzalez has been successful in each of his three saves opportunities since coming off the disabled list on June 17.Notes: Chipper Jones and Brian McCann, who represented the Braves in the All-Star game, were excused from the workout. ... Cox said his rotation for the next five games includes Tim Hudson, who will today, followed by Jair Jurrjens, Jo-Jo Reyes, Jorge Campillo and Charlie Morton.