Braves' Milligan Ready To Get Back On The Field

KISSIMMEE, FLA.Adam Milligan realizes that professional baseball can be a game of out of sight, out of mind.

After putting together one of the most impressive all-around offensive campaigns in the organization in 2009, the outfielder suffered an early season shoulder injury at high Class A Myrtle Beach last year. Milligan felt his shoulder pop while diving for a line drive. He initially tried to play through it before the constant pain led to an MRI, which revealed a torn rotator cuff. When a rehab stint in extended spring training generated little progress,Milligan had surgery on June 30.

"It was tough," Milligan said. "I felt great going into the season but injuries are a part of the game. I tried to get better by working on some of the little things, but for the first two months after the surgery, I wasn't able to do much of anything."

Milligan took batting practice during instructional league prior to being medically cleared in mid-October. He was able to complete all of his offseason conditioning this past winter and arrived in spring training on March 1 ready to pick up where he left off nearly a year ago.

"I was fortunate that it was not my throwing shoulder," Milligan said. "However, it was my back shoulder that I use in getting the bat through the zone. My power and my timing have been real good. I'm pleased with the way everything has responded and looking forward to getting the season started."

A sixth-round pick out of Walters State (Tenn.) CC in 2008, Milligan hit just .200/.277/.376 in 85 at-bats last year.

"I just want to play a full season and stay healthy," said Milligan, who turned 23 during spring training. "You can't worry about getting hurt, and I'm not pressing or worrying about where I'll be this season. If I can go out there every day and play my game, I believe things will work out the way I want them to."

Wigwam Wisps

• Luis Salazar returned to Braves camp on March 23, two weeks after he was struck in the face by a foul ball. Salazar, who lost his left eye in the accident, is still planning on managing at the Braves' new high Class A Lynchburg affiliate, although he may not open the season with the team.

• Infielder Ed Lucas, who signed as a six-year minor league free agent over the winter, has impressed with his defensive versatility and was a candidate for the big league roster.