ATLANTA -- Although Martin Prado still has plenty of admirers among Braves fans at Turner Field, coming out of the visitors' dugout is a little bit easier this weekend than it was when the D-backs visited Atlanta in late June last season.
"This year is real normal," Prado said. "It took me a while to get it over with, but now I feel pretty good."
Prado appreciated the warm reception he received on Friday night, saying it is "always special" to return to the place where he got his start in the Majors. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson believes Atlanta's affection for Prado is much deserved.
"He's a good guy," Gibson said. "He walks in every day and either hugs or shakes everybody's hand. That's who he is. He's well respected. Everybody loves him. The fans love him here. You can tell."
Prado enjoys visiting Turner Field, a venue where his 378 hits since 2008 are the most by any player in that span. The D-backs hope the visit can perhaps spark Prado, who is hitting .217 (18-for-83) since June 9, like it did a year ago.
The third baseman was slumping in his first season as a D-backs when he returned to Turner Field for the first time on June 28, 2013, since he was sent to Arizona as part of the January 2013 trade that brought Justin Upton to the Braves.
He was batting .241 (71-for-294) with 32 strikeouts and a .638 OPS before he went 4-for-11 in Atlanta to begin a tear during which he hit .321 (101-for-315) with an .854 OPS and only 21 strikeouts in 345 plate appearances.
Although he finished 1-for-4 with a run scored in Friday night's 5-2 loss to the Braves, Prado doesn't think he needs a trip to Atlanta every time he needs to overcome a slump. In Saturday's 10-4 loss, he went 1-for-4 again and hit into two double plays.
"I'm not hoping that this has to happen again to turn it around on offense," Prado said. "I should've turned it around since Day 1, and it didn't happen. I'm not looking for to see what happened last year. Last year, that's passed. I'm looking for to be more consistent with my swing and get better at-bats and get some results for my team."
But Prado did admit he has been comfortable at the plate in Atlanta this weekend.
"I felt pretty good," Prado said. "I feel my balance and everything just coming back. I think I was reaching for a lot of balls. I was just drifting a little bit with my front leg, but it's a lot of mechanic things. I don't want to think about mechanics. Just go to home plate and swinging the bat. If I see a good pitch, I'll swing."
Gibson added: "Martin, you've got to pull him back. He wants to work too hard. He wants to hit after the game."
D-backs recall De La Rosa to fill 'pen void
ATLANTA -- The D-backs recalled lefty Eury De La Rosa from Triple-A Reno on Saturday after sending southpaw reliever Joe Thatcher and outfielder Tony Campana to the Angels in a trade for two prospects -- outfielder Zach Borenstein and right-hander Joey Krehbiel.
De La Rosa made 19 appearances out of Arizona's bullpen in 2013, giving up five home runs and compiling a 7.36 ERA in 14 2/3 innings. He owns a 2.52 ERA and has struck out 36 batters in 39 1/3 innings of relief for the Aces this season.
"He's got good stuff. He can get guys out -- lefties and righties," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "A good changeup, he's got the stuff to get righties out as well. … It's good when you can leave the guy in there. You don't have to pull him out just because he can't get a right-handed guy out, so we're hoping he can do that."
Reliever Brad Ziegler added: "He's definitely qualified. He's had a good year in Triple-A. He's been up here before and got his feet wet and he knows what it takes to succeed here. We're guessing we can throw him in the same situations as we put Thatcher in and we're going to get the same results."
Walks hurt De La Rosa last season, as he issued 3.1 free passes per nine innings in the Majors. He has not shown much improvement in that area this season, as he has walked 4.6 batters per nine, down from his rate of 4.9 with the Aces in 2013.
"Thatcher used to walk a lot of guys, too," Gibson said. "[Bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre] and [pitching coach Mike Harkey] did a good job with him. We're going to try to use him right. Put him in a situation where [De La Rosa] can throw the ball more consistently, throw it over the plate and get outs."
However, De La Rosa should fit right in to a D-backs bullpen that led the National League and ranked second in the Majors with 287 strikeouts entering Saturday. The 5-foot-9 De La Rosa has fanned 9.5 per nine innings in 332 career innings in the Minor Leagues.
"He's pretty nasty, especially [since] he's not very big," Ziegler said. "I think he catches a lot of hitters off guard with how good his stuff is."
Should he make an appearance during this weekend's series at Turner Field, De La Rosa likely has a good chance to build on his ratio of 9.8 strikeouts per nine in the Majors. Braves batters entered Saturday ranked fifth among all teams with 728 strikeouts.
"He's been up here before, he's got a little bit of experience," Gibson said. "He should get comfortable quickly. He should be more comfortable this time being up than he was in previous stints. He can do it."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.