Gonzalez: No discussions about hitting-coach change

SAN DIEGO — Braves fans have taken to the blogosphere and airwaves with speculation and suggestions that hitting coach Larry Parrish could be and/or should be fired.

That’s apparently all it is. Speculation outside the organization.

“I’ve never even thought about that kind of stuff,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Saturday. “That’s never entered my mind because I’ve been a coach. It’s so easy to say, yeah, you, if it’s not [going well]. I think the best way to say it is, everybody’s got to share responsibility.”

The Braves hit .199 in their previous 12 games before Saturday, dropping their average to .238 and their on-base percentage to .305. Washington (.237) and San Diego (.234) were the only National League teams with lower averages, and San Francisco (.304) was the lone NL team with a lower OBP.

Nevertheless, the pitching-strong Braves were 43-34, tied for the second-best record in the NL and the fourth-best in the majors.

“If you look at our stats over the course of the year, we’re not where we want to be offensively as a team,” Gonzalez said after the Braves got four hits in an 11-2 loss at San Diego on Friday.

A day later, Gonzalez said the team’s offensive woes should not be laid at the feet of Parrish, 57. He’s a former major league player with extensive managing and coaching experience, though not as a hitting coach except for parts of three seasons as a minor league roving instructor for the Tigers.

“You go by the batting cage every day, and Larry’s in there banging,” Gonzalez said. “He’s prepared. He’s organized, detailed. ... The two worst jobs, for me, are the hitting coach and the pitching coach. Because you’re held directly accountable for stuff that you’re really not accountable for.”

Much of the Braves’ offensive disappointments stem from the career-worst first half by Dan Uggla, who had a major league-low .175 batting average before Saturday, and Jason Heyward, whose inflamed shoulder contributed to a sluggish start (.227 average, .325 OBP, seven homers, 23 RBIs).

Prado progresses

Left fielder Martin Prado made significant progress the past two days in his recovery from staph-infection surgery, and the Braves said there’s a chance he could return before the All-Star break, which begins July 11.

The incision has nearly healed from the June 10 procedure on his right calf, and Prado started hitting baseballs off a tee at Turner Field on Friday.

When the incision is completely closed, perhaps within a few days, he will be cleared to begin running and other baseball activities.

Prado had surgery to clean out staph infection from his calf in a small area of his left knee. Incisions typically require two to three weeks to heal.

Incisions are not stitched, but are left open following staph-infection surgery, in order for it to heal from the bottom out.

Prado has not played since June 7, the night he was hit in the left knee by a catcher’s throw while stealing second base in a game at Florida. That injury was unrelated to the staph infection, Braves doctors said.

Hanson on target

Tommy Hanson threw a bullpen session Friday without incident, his final test before he’s to be activated from the 15-day disabled list to make Tuesday’s start at Seattle.

Hanson (8-4, 2.48 ERA) has missed two starts while recovering from rotator-cuff tendinitis in his pitching shoulder. Friday was the first time he threw off a mound since being placed on the DL.