"My neck feels better today than I expected it would, so it's moving in the right direction," Kawakami said in a statement released by the Braves. "I will keep doing treatment for the next few days and try to protect it as much as possible, with the hope that I will still be able to make my next start."
Although Kawakami plans on making his next start, it's possible that he could be skipped the next time through the rotation. The Braves have an off-day on Monday, meaning Derek Lowe could make Kawakami's scheduled start against the Phillies. If that happens, Kawakami could make his next start during the Braves' series vs. the Nationals over the Fourth of July weekend.
Kawakami was unavailable in the clubhouse before Thursday's game against the Yankees, but a team source said the bruise on his neck was no longer black and blue and that the swelling was minimal. A red bruise still remains where the line drive struck him on the right side of the base of his neck.
The Japanese righty drove himself to Turner Field on Thursday, and was able to turn his neck to both sides.
Adam Rosenberg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.