LOS ANGELES – Chipper Jones received a cortisone injection in his injured finger and hopes to return to the Braves’ lineup as soon as Tuesday at Arizona.
The veteran third baseman missed the four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with swelling in his right ring finger that made it painful to hit or throw. Jones said he got the shot directly into his knuckle after Saturday night’s game.
He said the pain was worse than ever Sunday, as the discomfort from the swelling was compounded by soreness from the injection.
“But [the medication] should take hold by tomorrow,” Jones said, “and I’ll see if I can take batting practice maybe Tuesday. If all goes well Tuesday, we’ll go get ‘em.”
Jones decided to have the shot after getting no relief through hot-cold treatments and a wrap designed to transfer cortisone through the skin to the inflammation.
He thought he might have to wait to get the shot from a hand specialist, and that he might need to go on the disabled list so that the Braves wouldn’t be short-handed while he healed.
But the Braves’ assistant orthopaedist, Dr. Marvin Royster, was in Los Angeles at Saturday’s game and asked Jones if he wanted to get the shot. He got it late Saturday, and Jones said he now has no intention of going on the DL.
“I wouldn’t have gotten the shot if I was going on the DL,” he said.
Omar Infante has filled in at third base since Jones left Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia when pain he’d felt several days worsened.
Infante had a game-winning RBI in that game against the Phillies and another in Saturday’s 9-3 win against the Dodgers. Infante’s single drove in the second and third runs in a seven-run seventh inning, which sent the Braves to their 10th win in 11 games.
“In years past I probably would have played through it,” Jones said of his latest injury, “because we didn’t have anybody else, and my presence was sort of missed. Now, Omar is capable of going out and throwing three or four knocks out there any night against anybody, and he’s a clutch guy — he’s gotten two game-winning hits since I’ve been out.
“It allows me the chance to sit and get right before I get back in there.”
Jones, 38, has been plagued by injuries in recent years. The Braves struggled mightily without him in the lineup until the second half of the 2009 season, when they finally played well in his absences.
Infante missed parts of the past two seasons with a twice-broken hand, but has been healthy this season and provided a dependable backup to Jones and shortstop Yunel Escobar, who had a recent stint on the disabled list.
Brooks Conrad had also come through with big hits when filling in for Jones, who said he’s pleased to see the team become less reliant on him as he gets closer to retirement.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “You’ve got to have all 25 guys. Omar’s gotten a chance to play for a couple of weeks straight when Escobar was on the DL, and he’s going to get a chance to play four or five days straight here.
“It’s good to get him some reps. You throw him right in the 2-hole behind [Martin] Prado and in front of [Jason] Heyward, and he’s responded. He’s hitting bullets all over the park, and in big spots. Like I said, two game-winning RBIs in the last four games.
“In [the past] if me and the No. 4 hitter didn’t hit, we didn’t score any runs. That’s not the case now. And trust me, I’m elated.”