DENVER -- Livan Hernandez admits he was somewhat hesitant when he signed with the Braves with the knowledge that he would be primarily used as a long reliever. But while spending the past month getting his first taste of life in the bullpen, the veteran pitcher said he might spend a few more years enjoying this relief role.
"I have fun in the bullpen with the guys and we are laughing and watching the game, I enjoy every moment," Hernandez said. "I started to like it. Maybe I'll do this job for a [few] more years."
Hernandez's relief experience was enriched on Saturday night, when he notched his first save after 485 career appearances (474 starts). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first pitcher since Frank Tanana in 1990 to record his first save after that many starts. Tanana's first save came after 512 starts.
Hernandez admits he did not know he had recorded a save until he was shaking hands with his teammates after a 13-9 win over the Rockies. The veteran hurler entered after a 69-minute rain delay, with the Braves holding a one-run lead with one out in the eighth inning.
"I've never been in that situation," Hernandez said. "I think [Eric] Hinske told me, 'First save' and I was like, 'Oh, yeah.' Then when I started giving [high-fives] to everybody, I was like, 'Wow, first save.' It's very nice."
Nursing sore left elbow, Prado back in lineup
DENVER -- Martin Prado's first few days in Denver were not exactly pleasurable. After flu-like symptoms restricted him to his hotel room on Thursday and Friday, he returned to action on Saturday night and got hit on the left elbow with the first pitch Esmil Rogers threw him during a seventh-inning pinch-hit appearance.
Prado glared at Rogers before taking first base. The plunking loaded the bases, creating a force possibility at each base with one out and the game tied. The right-handed reliever was removed before Michael Bourn followed with a walk that gave the Braves their first lead of the night.
"He didn't hit nobody before," Prado said. "He was pretty much in the zone. First pitch like that? I don't think it was on purpose, but it made me think it was too obvious, too."
Prado scored from second base in the seventh and had to sprint from first base while scoring in the ninth. But he did not have any more problems with the flu-like symptoms. His left elbow was the only thing bothering him when he returned to the Braves' lineup on Sunday.
Prospect Gattis tearing it up at Double-A
DENVER -- Evan Gattis needed less than a month to leave the Braves no other choice but to promote him to Double-A Mississippi. Less than a full week later, Gattis is already providing reason to wonder when he might get his next promotion.
Gattis entered Sunday having recorded two doubles and three home runs during his first five games with Mississippi. In the 26 combined games he has played with Mississippi and Class A Advanced Lynchburg this year, the strong 25-year-old has hit .384 with 12 homers and a 1.295 OPS.
The Braves are primarily utilizing Gattis in left field with the hope that he will show that he can play a position other than catcher.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Chipper Jones' performance on Saturday made him just the second player in Braves history to record at least five RBIs at the age of 40 or older. The other was Babe Ruth, who hit three home runs and collected six RBIs during the final game of his career with the Boston Braves on May 25, 1935.
Atlanta entered Sunday leading the Majors with 155 runs and ranking second with a run differential of 22.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.