Braves map out return plan for Chris Johnson

The Atlanta Braves are hopeful that third baseman Chris Johnson, sidelined since April 30 with a broken left hand, can return to the lineup next week, manager Fredi Gonzalez said Thursday.

Gonzalez said Johnson will have five at-bats in extended spring training Friday, take batting practice on Saturday, rejoin the Braves for batting practice Sunday and then have a rehab assignment in three games next week.

If all goes well, Gonzalez said, Johnson could return next Thursday when the Braves visit the San Francisco Giants.

Johnson is batting .279 with no home runs and five RBIs in 16 games this season.