ATLANTA -- Outfielders B.J. Upton and Jordan Schafer both felt comfortable enough to take the field before Friday's game and test out their respective leg injuries. While Schafer is still a few weeks away from being able to return from an intraosseous stress fracture in his ankle, B.J. Upton could be back to patrolling center field as early as next week after testing his strained right adductor muscle during an encouraging workout on Friday afternoon.
"I did some sprints today, like really ran, and then agility, like cutting to see how it felt, and it felt pretty good," Upton said. "Overall, it's night and day from what it was a couple weeks ago, even a couple days ago. It's coming along well, and we'll just see."
Upton was optimistic about heading out on a rehab assignment early next week and possibly rejoining the team at the tail end of its current seven-game homestand. On Sunday, he will be eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Schafer had been taking swings off a tee and doing some underwater exercises over the past two days to test the strength of his ankle before putting his full weight on it with above-ground exercise.
"The water takes away a lot of your body weight, that's why we started there," Schafer said before heading out to the field on Friday. "So if I can actually jog by myself with my weight on the field today, that'll be a big step."
"He said he feels, other than his legs feeling a little jelly, he felt good," Gonzalez said later on Friday, after Schafer had finished testing out the injury.
Hudson undergoes surgery for fractured ankle
ATLANTA -- Tim Hudson underwent season-ending surgery on Friday afternoon in Atlanta to repair his deltoid ligament and fractured fibula in his right ankle, ruling the 15-year veteran out for at least four months before he can resume baseball activities.
Hudson suffered the gruesome injury in the eighth inning of Wednesday night's win in New York after Mets outfielder Eric Young Jr. stepped on the back of his right ankle as Hudson covered first base.
"He's got a fracture, he's got a dislocation, and they'll get in there and find out what kind of ligament involvement," Braves general manager Frank Wren said before Friday's game. "There's a number of things they're going to be fixing and repairing."
Hudson flew back to Atlanta with his teammates yesterday after the final game of their series against the Mets, and Wren said that he planned to visit Hudson at Piedmont Hospital after Friday night's game.
"He was in a good mood, good spirits," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I'm sure he was doing a lot of reflecting and that kind of stuff, but he'll be fine. He's got a good support system there with his wife Kim and his family and everyone else here in Atlanta and in Auburn."
With the surgery completed, Kim Hudson tweeted that her husband was indeed watching from the hospital as Mike Minor and the Braves shut down the Cardinals in a 4-1 victory on Friday night: "Watching/listening to Tim watch the Braves game and cheer for his teammates, heavily under the influence of pain meds, is entertaining."
Watching/listening to Tim watch the Braves game and cheer for his teammates, heavily under the influence of pain meds, is entertaining. ❤- Kim Hudson (@kimberlybhudson) July 27, 2013
Hudson received plenty of teammates in his hotel room the night of the injury and was given a standing ovation in Citi Field as he was carted off. Gonzalez said on Friday that he had received multiple texts from former teammates of Hudson passing along their thoughts and best wishes, and the manager planned to reconnect with the right-hander later this weekend after he fully recovers from the surgery.
"When they're doing that, I think sometimes it's better just to let him get the rest and leave him alone," Gonzalez said. "We'll touch up tomorrow or the next day, whenever our doctors say he's good to talk and give him a breather."
Beachy to return Monday as Braves assess options
ATLANTA -- As expected, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez announced on Friday that Brandon Beachy would take Tim Hudson's place in the rotation starting on Monday in the team's series opener against the Rockies. But with Paul Maholm likely to miss at least one more start with a sprained wrist, Beachy's return from Tommy John surgery is just one facet of the self-evaluation process as the Braves front office takes inventory of its options for making upgrades to both the rotation and the bullpen in the final days before the Trade Deadline.
"We have to make a decision regardless of what we actually see with those guys," general manager Frank Wren said. "Paul Maholm, his situation, I think he'll be fine in the next few days. And as pertaining to Beachy, we've seen him make a number of rehab starts, and those have all gotten progressively better, and his last one was the best yet, so I think we pretty much know what we have there."
Beachy completed six innings on Wednesday night in his final rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett, allowing just two runs on two hits but surrendering four walks. If all goes well with one final side bullpen session at Turner Field this weekend, Beachy will get the ball on Monday for his first start since June 16, 2012.
"We'll put him there on Monday if everything goes well," Gonzalez said. "I don't expect any problems with that side, and then he'll be scheduled to pitch on Monday for Huddy's spot."
Wren called this summer's trade market the thinnest he's ever seen from a buyer's perspective, making his short list of prime trade targets just that -- short.
"I've had years where I've had two legal pages written out of names of potential trade possibilities," Wren said. "This year, I've got half a page of names that really fit for us, so it's a small number."
The Braves are in the enviable position of protecting a comfortable lead in the National League East heading into the Trade Deadline. That allows a healthy margin of error to be picky with trade options while the rotation adjusts to life without Hudson's veteran presence.
"Yeah, it's a young rotation, but they have to grow up sooner or later," Gonzalez said. "We have to grow up and mature. Somewhere down the line is going to be your first playoff or pennant chase or pennant run. It's going to be your first, so we're young, but we'll get through it."
The unusually high cost of many of the top targets around the league also has tempered the urgency with which Wren shops his team's assets in the hunt for a playoff-ready piece.
"We want to win the World Series, so is there a guy that really makes that kind of difference?" Wren said. "If there is, I think you're willing to pay for him. We weigh that every year, whether we're in or out. We're always weighing what's the value of the player down the road when the games are more meaningful."
Minor Leaguer Carpio suspended for 50 games
ATLANTA -- Braves Minor Leaguer Humberto Carpio was one of two Dominican Summer League players to be handed 50-game suspensions on Friday for violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Carpio, a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher for the Dominican Summer League Braves, received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Stanozolol, effective immediately.
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.