A day later, Chipper cautiously optimistic

HOUSTON – So much news to report that I won’t have time to do a normal, overly long blog, so let’s just give you a quick rundown before we get down to writing longer stories or notebook items on each of these subjects.

chipper_0811_647923g

Chipper is helped off the field by Braves trainer Jeff Porter after knee injury Tuesday night.

First, the Chipper Jones update.

If you missed it, he injured his left knee making a terrific stop, plant and throw defensive play in the sixth inning Tuesday and spent several minutes on the ground in pain. Everyone in the Braves dugout feared the worst, but there’s cautious optimism with Chipper and the team that it might not be a severe, season-ending injury.

He didn’t have any significant swelling last night after the game and still didn’t this morning, strengthening his belief that it’s not an ACL injury, and he hopes it’s not a major injury to any other ligament. But he won’t know until he gets an MRI on Thursday in Atlanta.

Jones tore the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in 1994 as a rookie during spring training and had reconstructive surgery that forced him to miss the entire season. He said the knee “blew up” to the size of a basketball with major swelling almost immediately, and that he heard a loud pop that he thought everyone in the ballpark could have heard.

This time, he said he felt a “distinct pop,” but not anything like the sound and sensation of that ‘94 incident. And Braves head trainer Jeff Porter tested Chipper’s knee on the field Tuesday night and again in the clubhouse and told him the ACL was stable. So it’d surprise everyone if it’s any sort of serious ACL injury.

It might be a posterior cruciate ligament or medial collateral ligament injury, and if there’s no significant tear Jones could possibly return from either of those in relatively short time and without surgery, though he might need to play in a brace of some kind.

He and the Braves just want to get him back in the lineup as soon as possible, because he’s been hitting well for nearly two months after his sluggish early season, and Chipper said today that he’s having fun again and the team is winning, and he really wants to get back out there and remain part of it.

He’s hit .307 with seven homers and a .907 OPS in 44 games since June 15, after batting .228 with three homers and a .716 OPS in 51 games through June 14.

His outlook has changed so much in the past two months that when I asked him this morning if he’d consider going through another lengthy rehab if it’s a major knee injury, he said he’d have to. Two months ago, I can almost guarantee you his answer would’ve been something along the lines of “No way, I’d retire.”

He seemed in good spirits after the game, all things considered, and again this morning. After getting treatment, he put on his uniform and went out to watch batting practice, standing on the step-up behind the batting cage and chatting with teammates.

He’s walking without crutches or a brace, albeit with a limp. But he was able to go up the dugout steps without any difficult, for what that’s worth.

Martin Prado is progressing well in his recovery from a broken right pinkie and is going to test it with live batting practice on Friday before they decide the next step. The All-Star second baseman is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday, and manager Bobby Cox said, when I asked if Prado would need any rehab games, “He hasn’t forgotten how to hit.”

In other words, if Prado wants to play as soon as he’s eligible, then he’ll probably be permitted to. Still, to me it seems more likely that he’ll go hit in one or two minor-league games before he comes back.

Prado said this morning that he thinks he’ll need to, that it would be better to do a brief minor-league rehab stint before he jumps back in to face big-league pitcher in game situations, since the only hitting he’s done in two weeks has been off a tee in the past several days.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Prado if Chipper goes on the DL, because the Braves might decide to keep Omar Infante at second base an have Prado play third. Prado’s a good third baseman, better defensively than Infante at the position.

I watched him do some throwing this morning, and he didn’t seem to have any problems or show any discomfort, that sort of thing.

Infante (left) has done a fine job filling in for Prado (right), and could stay at 2B if Braves need Prado to fill in for  Chipper.

Infante (left) has done a fine job filling in for Prado (right), and could stay at 2B if Braves need Prado to fill in for a while at 3B for Chipper.

Jason Heyward is out of the lineup for the second consecutive day with a sore right knee, which was wrapped this morning as he sat a few lockers down from Chipper. But there are no indications that this is anything to be concerned about, and Heyward is expected to be back in the lineup Friday for the series opener against the Dodgers, after the team’s day off Thursday.

Heyward said he could have played today but that Cox wanted to be cautious and give him another day to rest, so he’d have three full days including the off day.

The big rookie hurt his knee Monday when it hit the ground as he attempted to make a sliding catch on a bloop single that landed in shallow right field. He said it was sore during pregame drills and batting practice Tuesday, so he figured he should say something to the trainer rather than risk making the situation worse by playing on it.

Eric O’Flaherty threw batting practice for about 10 minutes this morning and felt good, the final step before he goes out on what’s expected to be a brief rehab assignment beginning Friday. O’Flaherty has been on the DL since July 10 recovering from mononucleosis, and Cox said he needs to get his strength back with a short rehab stint before he comes off the DL.

He wouldn’t say if that could be just a few appearances or more, and I don’t think the Braves have determined that. They’ll probably wait to see how O’Flaherty feels after a couple of appearances, but they obviously could use him back in the bullpen to help ease the load off Jonny Venters, who’s working in about two out of every three games these days.

OK, that’s it. We’re about to start this series finale, which features a helluva pitching matchup with Tommy Hanson facing Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez. Matt Diaz is hitting cleanup for the fifth consecutive game against a lefty.

Hanson is 0-2 in his past three starts despite a 1.33 ERA and .184 opponents’ average, with six runs (three earned) allowed in 20-1/3 innings. He’s 1-3 with a 2.05 ERA in his past seven starts, with two or fewer earned runs allowed in six. The Braves scored two runs or fewer while he was in five of his past seven starts, including 0, 1 and 2 runs in the past three.

Against the Astros, Hanson is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two starts against the Astros, including eight scoreless innings of five-hit ball in a Sept. 9 win at Minute Maid Park.

Rodriguez is 6-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his past eight starts, and 4-1 with a 1.06 ERA in his past five home starts. In those past five at Minute Maid, he has a .154 opponents’ average with 18 hits (two homers), eight walks and 35 strikeouts in 34 innings.

He’s 2-2 with a 4.57 ERA in seven starts vs. the Braves, including a May 1 loss at Atlanta when he allowed 10 hits and five runs (two earned) in five innings. The Braves will miss Chipper, who’s 4-for-15 with two homers against the lefty. Troy Glaus, who snapped his 39-game homer drought Tuesday night, is 6-for-16 with a homer against Rodriguez.

♣ Oh, just one other thing: The Braves lead the majors with 18 wins in final at-bat, and Brooks Conrad had the winning RBI in three of those, via a grand slam, a suicide squeeze bunt and Tues’s two-run, ninth-inning homer in the stirring come-from behind win. All six of his homers have come in the eighth inning or later, and Braves teammates just raved about him last night and today. I’m going to write something about him today and use a lot of those quotes and stats.

Enjoy this one from The Man in Black, and this video to go with it.

johnny-cash

“I STILL MISS SOMEONE” by Johnny Cash

At my door the leaves are falling

A cold wild wind Will come

Sweethearts walk by together

And I still miss someone

I go out on a party

And look for a little fun

But I find a darkened corner

‘Cause I still miss someone

Oh, no I never got over those blues eyes

I see them every where

I miss those arms that held me

When all the love was there

I wonder if she’s sorry

For leavin’ what we’d begun

There’s someone for me somewhere

And I still miss someone

Oh, no I never got over those blues eyes

I see them every where

I miss those arms that held me

When all the love was there

I wonder if she’s sorry

For leavin’ what we’d begun

There’s someone for me somewhere

And I still miss someone

and I still miss someone

4,017 comments Add your comment

Venice Jim

August 11th, 2010
2:17 pm

Venice Jim

August 11th, 2010
2:17 pm

And great song, DOB!

Venice Jim

August 11th, 2010
2:19 pm

Good start for Tommy…

southern hope

August 11th, 2010
2:19 pm

greeeaaaat song…..can’t believe you picked this one….one of my fave….Bonus: The Braves are already winning.

P-Town Brave

August 11th, 2010
2:20 pm

Tommy needs to come out and dominate today and get the Braves back home looking toward the Dodgers…

Need to come out and make a statement, albeit, with a B lineup

Venice Jim

August 11th, 2010
2:20 pm

Very lonely here right now…

David O'Brien

August 11th, 2010
2:21 pm

If the baseball Gods are frowning on the Bravos, do you think there is a slight chance the Braves move Glaus back over to 3rd, and bring up freeman? — Nick ‘n Nash

No, I can’t see them doing that. Not the way Glaus is moving at 1B lately. Can’t imagine how he’d be able to make plays required of a 3B, charging in for bunts and soft rollers, going hard to his left and right and planting to make strong throw across field, etc.

P-Town Brave

August 11th, 2010
2:21 pm

No Kershaw in ATL is a major plus for the Braves…

Would like to get 3 of 4 if we can and then put some distance between us and the Phils on the homestand.

MattyRoss

August 11th, 2010
2:23 pm

Philly has certainly dealt with some major injuries this season, there’s no doubt, but it’s not like the Braves have been able to pencil in the same 8 every day. I guess between the play of guys like Hinske, Infante, and Conrad, having the bench players start becomes a non-story since there’s not so much of a drop off. Fine by me, I guess. Let the northerners keep bitchin’.

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:23 pm

Why don’t you call your best friend Alex Gonzalez?

P-Town Brave

August 11th, 2010
2:24 pm

WOW…

Um yeah, if Glaus can’t stay in front of a 12-hopper in the 8th inning last night, who really believes he can play 3b again?

Yeah, thats not gonna happen…there’d be a better chance of Freddie coming up and returning to his natural position of 3b.

jim

August 11th, 2010
2:24 pm

Any serious knee injury, even a sprain, that may allow Chipper to return by Sept. 1, may be just as serious or worse than a season ending injury that would require surgery. The legs are very important in the swing, and playing with a compromised knee would take away a lot of the leverage in the swing. The poster child for playing with weak knees is troy glaus — power down, weak groujnders up, and range miniscule. Carlos Beltran playing with a brace is another example of how ineffective a player can be without a strong foundation in his legs. A Chipper playing on one leg or with a brace, might take away playing time from Conrad or Omar who might be more effective. If Chipper returns this year, the guy that comes back could be a shadow of the guy we saw the past month.

MattyRoss

August 11th, 2010
2:24 pm

Best 1st inning I can remember this season for Tommy.

P-Town Brave

August 11th, 2010
2:24 pm

Oh, and that Freeman playing 3b….yeah there’s a .00001% chance of that happening…

Razorback Red

August 11th, 2010
2:25 pm

Is it just me or is Hanson throwing a lot of two-seamers early?

DC Brave

August 11th, 2010
2:25 pm

I love Brooks and I love this team, but our chances are better with Chipper’s presence in the lineup. Seems like he really has gone back in time….hopefully not back to 94 though.

Venice Jim

August 11th, 2010
2:25 pm

I think he’s been busy driving in the run, and I don’t want to distract him in the field – he has enough troubles without that…

Fargo

August 11th, 2010
2:27 pm

venice jim…..THANKS for the link!! you just made my workday a helluva lot better!

P-Town Brave

August 11th, 2010
2:27 pm

Jim-

I agree…legs mean everything for a guy with any power…using just your arms won’t get you anywhere and Troy is a prime example of this…

If Chipper misses any time whatsoever or goes to the DL, we probably go with Prado at 3b (once he returns) and Infante at 2b….

I still feel like Chipper going down provides logic that we can even less afford Troy’s prolonged power outages…

DC Brave

August 11th, 2010
2:28 pm

Glaus is swinging better…

Silly Goose

August 11th, 2010
2:28 pm

Just throwing this out there…I wonder if the Braves have ever thought about moving B Mac to 1st? It would be a lot of less wear on his knees and Ross could play more. Plus solves the 1st base problem our team has had since God knows when. Thoughts?

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:29 pm

I wouldn’t compare the Phillies losing Howard, Utley, and Rollins (2 MVPs and constant top-10 MVP candidate) for an extended period to the Braves losing Jurrjens, Diaz, and a struggling Heyward.

P-Town Brave

August 11th, 2010
2:29 pm

Anyone who just watched that by Glaus…

IF he doesn’t hit a HR, he’s worthless to the club…he can’t run or field at all…

Nova Scotia Steve

August 11th, 2010
2:29 pm

Pitcher doesn’t get a piece of that – it’s a hit for Troy.

Assuming the CF doesn’t throw him out at 1b

Jamacian Gravy

August 11th, 2010
2:30 pm

Thanks for the updates DOB.

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:30 pm

Moving McCann to 1st? You silly goose, you

P-Town Brave

August 11th, 2010
2:30 pm

Silly Goose-

For BMac’s sake, he should take some FP at 1b to prolong his career, but given the fact that Freddie Freeman will be ready any day, Mac isn’t moving anywhere.

P-Town Brave

August 11th, 2010
2:31 pm

Keppinger could smoke a cigarette, make a sandwich, and still throw Glaus out by 3 steps at 1b.

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:32 pm

I didn’t realize they were playing right now. I see we got the backup brigade in again.

Trey

August 11th, 2010
2:32 pm

Thanks for the new blog, chief!

Silly Goose

August 11th, 2010
2:32 pm

P-Town – I see your point about FF. I thought FF was originally a 3b? Can’t recall…

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:33 pm

I think he’s been busy driving in the run VJ

Gametracker: A. Gonzalez grounded out to shortstop, M. Cabrera scored

Looks like he hit a scorcher ;)

MattyRoss

August 11th, 2010
2:33 pm

Jeffrey d….Jurrjens is the ace when he’s on, Heyward has been struggling BECAUSE of an injury, Chipper’s missed significant time already and is about to again, Glaus is playing hurt and has been because options are limited, some guy named Prado broke his pinky, McCann’s vision crap popped up again…these ain’t exactly scrubs.

Joe in SoCal

August 11th, 2010
2:34 pm

DOB, I fear we’ve missed our window of opportunity to bring up Freeman early. Now that Glaus has hit with RISP and then a homer, I’m sure Bobby will take this as a sign he’s coming out of it. Couple that with Chippers injury and I can imagine Bobby won’t want to upset the apple cart by bringing in another youngster rather than staying with the vet. I understand the thinking just hope it comes to fruition. Hate for it to fall apart now. This is a resilient bunch of pluggers. Lunch pale guys if ever there was.

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:34 pm

Like there’s any way to even make a sandwich in the outfield :roll:

BC

August 11th, 2010
2:34 pm

Nice to see the Braves hitter’s are building on last nights momentum…It would be nice to see a solid 4 runs in one of the first few innings one of these days..

Innocent Bystander

August 11th, 2010
2:34 pm

Thanks for the new bloggage, Chief!

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:34 pm

I was just saying…I think the Phillies are hurting more by the loss of Howard than we were without Diaz.

dickfer

August 11th, 2010
2:35 pm

nah

what makes you think that

dickfer

August 11th, 2010
2:35 pm

how close did that come to getting out?

MattyRoss

August 11th, 2010
2:36 pm

The fact that we had Medlen, Infante, Ross, and Hinske is why the Braves stayed afloat, and probably why people didn’t notice as much. Was my point. I didn’t mention McLouth or Diaz, because those aren’t starters on a lot of teams.

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:36 pm

Is McFann also Trey and Innocent Bystander?

shmoe

August 11th, 2010
2:36 pm

TOMMY BOY, lookin just fine

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

August 11th, 2010
2:37 pm

I was just about to say that, Trey

Venice Jim

August 11th, 2010
2:37 pm

But Gametracker cannot diagram the nuance with which he perfectly placed the ball in a position where not even Yunel Escobar could have thrown Melky out at home… ;)

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

August 11th, 2010
2:38 pm

That goes for you, too, Innocent Bystander. ;)

jeffrey d

Negatory.

Venice Jim

August 11th, 2010
2:38 pm

dickfer – a few feet in front of the wall…

MattyRoss

August 11th, 2010
2:38 pm

I agree on Howard, though. I think it all means that if the Braves win the East, it’ll be a testament to the fact that a strong bench is a real key for a teams success. If Philly had our bench, ATL would be in 3rd right now. At best.

Silly Goose

August 11th, 2010
2:38 pm

Ankiel is hitting .147 through his first 10 games with the Braves. McLouth anyone? (J/K)

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:39 pm

Is it just because I’m a nerd, or does this headline on the front page bother anyone else?

Handel concedes
GOP guv nomination

David O'Brien

August 11th, 2010
2:40 pm

Joe in SoCal, good points at 2:34 p.m.

Venice Jim

August 11th, 2010
2:40 pm

“Lilburn native Jeff Francoeur, who’s been losing playing time to rookie Fernando Martinez, has informed the Mets he’d like to be traded.”

Jose Canseco

August 11th, 2010
2:40 pm

Got to believe that Chipper sitting in the dugout has to be a positive sign for the severity of his injury. If they are not in a rush to get the MRI I hope they know it is not as bad as it seems. But the Braves will band together and win.

Boonie

August 11th, 2010
2:40 pm

Does anyone have a video feed for the game?

Nova Scotia Steve

August 11th, 2010
2:41 pm

Well – thoughts on this game so far?

Stan

August 11th, 2010
2:41 pm

Is anybody in the Braves organization concerned about the fact that Heyward keeps getting injured? The kid’s only 20 and he’s looking more like a Brian Jordan or late career Chipper than a future Willie Mays or Cal Ripken.

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:41 pm

I think it all means that if the Braves win the East, it’ll be a testament to the fact that a strong bench is a real key for a teams success

Oh no doubt about that. I was just saying that backups not considered I think the Phillies’ injuries hurt them a lot more.

Silly Goose

August 11th, 2010
2:42 pm

Venice Jim – I would love to see him back. I suppose I’m the only one on there who would think that.

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:43 pm

Wrong, Stan. Heyward’s 21. Your body starts to go with age

deb

August 11th, 2010
2:43 pm

Why can’t Conrad be the regular fill-in 3B while Chipper’s out? Prado and Infante are great, but why isn’t Conrad even a possibility? He does a great job on defense and he can definitely hit, especially in clutch, game-ending situations.

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:43 pm

Silly Goose – It won’t happen, but I’d like to see him back too. Less so than I would’ve at the beginning of the season, but I’d still like to see him back.

Huge

August 11th, 2010
2:44 pm

DOB,

Now that Mark Cuban has failed at buying the Rangers and Cubs, do you think he will show any interest in the braves if/when they are up for sale?

bozz

August 11th, 2010
2:44 pm

let’s just be ridiculously optimistic and say that medlen won’t miss next year, this would be our projected starting five:
1. hudson
2. jj
3. hanson
4. medlen
5. minor

wow! new dynasty in the making, methinks…

shmoe

August 11th, 2010
2:45 pm

could this be a special day for hanson?

Silly Goose

August 11th, 2010
2:45 pm

jeffrey d – place him in CF…I feel he’d be inspired by a comeback home.

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:45 pm

deb – I think Conrad’s few big hits have overshadowed the fact that he’s a .235 hitter this year. He doesn’t get a lot of hits, but when he does he sure makes them count.

Brian from SC

August 11th, 2010
2:46 pm

bozz, you seem to be missing Derek Lowe. He will be in the rotation next year.

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:46 pm

bozz – but KK and Lowe are still under contract next year and will be taking up a combined $22 million

Silly Goose

August 11th, 2010
2:47 pm

shmoe – way to jinx him.

bozz

August 11th, 2010
2:47 pm

brian,

haha, my optimism would kick lowe out of atlanta. :D

Venice Jim

August 11th, 2010
2:47 pm

9 up, 9 down – excellent start for Tommy!

shmoe

August 11th, 2010
2:47 pm

silly goose

just gettin it outta the way early

Shaun

August 11th, 2010
2:47 pm

deb, Conrad is a career .219 hitter with a .283 on-base. He’s a “match-ups guy.”

DJ

August 11th, 2010
2:47 pm

bozz- you forgot about that Lowe fellow and the Kawakaminator… are we going to trade one or both of them, release them, or something else?

Bartholomew (Bat) Masterson

August 11th, 2010
2:47 pm

What would the Braves do with a sixth outfielder with an over inflated sense of self worth?

Nick 2.0

August 11th, 2010
2:47 pm

Hanson perfect through 3.

Fleming

August 11th, 2010
2:48 pm

Chipper saying he may play Friday

44 is King

August 11th, 2010
2:48 pm

Hanson is looking very good so far…

David O'Brien

August 11th, 2010
2:48 pm

Hanson has retired nine consecutive batters to start game, striking out last batter of each inning

Silly Goose

August 11th, 2010
2:48 pm

shmoe – LOL! good one.

CaptainMudderland

August 11th, 2010
2:49 pm

Tommy looking very good–hello to all in remembrance of last night’s unfortunate injury to C.J.–and, of course, the unreal contest which ensued….too much cardio for me….but ready to go now!

Silly Goose

August 11th, 2010
2:50 pm

BAT – good point. But still…you don’t think he’d be a better option that Ankiel, Melky, or Matt right now?

bozz

August 11th, 2010
2:50 pm

well, to be fair to me, i did say my rotation would require a ridiculous amount of optimism and that would entail lowe and kkamikazi taking their “talents” to another club. hey, we can all dream can’t we…

Herschel Talker

August 11th, 2010
2:50 pm

VJ:

lol. Francoeur is an arrogant tool. He blames everyone else for his problems and never looks inside himself. He is a loser and will remain one until such time if he ever gets retrospective.

HT

Rob from SC

August 11th, 2010
2:51 pm

Adam Wainwright is a beast….I hope he wins the CY Young

Razorback Red

August 11th, 2010
2:52 pm

Houston’s broadcast just thought Hernandez was Heyward…

JasonInFL

August 11th, 2010
2:52 pm

Personally, I would like to see Huddy win it…

Francois

August 11th, 2010
2:53 pm

That was awful.

Rob from SC

August 11th, 2010
2:53 pm

Diory Hernandez for SS

Silly Goose

August 11th, 2010
2:53 pm

wow – Wandy just made Gonzo look stupid.

Nick 2.0

August 11th, 2010
2:53 pm

Alex Gonzalez sucks.

Nova Scotia Steve

August 11th, 2010
2:53 pm

Pitchers duel?

dickfer

August 11th, 2010
2:53 pm

hanson may have to shut them out to win today

Larry

August 11th, 2010
2:53 pm

Gonzalez sucks

Rob from SC

August 11th, 2010
2:53 pm

THis game might be a really quick one

Bartholomew (Bat) Masterson

August 11th, 2010
2:53 pm

Silly Goose _

Not Matt or even Melky, maybe Ankiel, but who needs the headache.

Silly Goose

August 11th, 2010
2:54 pm

Diory Hernandez = another no power, slightly above average utility infielder. no thanks.

Rob from SC

August 11th, 2010
2:54 pm

JasonInFL

August 11th, 2010
2:52 pm
Personally, I would like to see Huddy win it…

Me too, but that won’t happen…Not with Ubaldo and Adam almost a lock for 20 plus wins….Hard to overlook that number

jeffrey d

August 11th, 2010
2:54 pm

What did AG do? Apparently it sucked

Nick 2.0

August 11th, 2010
2:54 pm

Rob – are u a Braves fan? Why wouldn’t you root for Hudson?

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