Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien today.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – So you might be able to tell from the date line…Reinforcements have been called in, and I’m taking the controls for a few days. Bear with me as I try to catch up to speed with the guys who have been here for two weeks. It’s kind of like jumping on a moving merry-go-round or something.
Here’s what we’ve got so far this lovely Florida morning – high in the upper 80s today – Chipper Jones is back in the lineup today at DH for the second straight day. His knee bounced back well from his first action yesterday, including his slide into second base at “sun-dial speed.”
“It’s a little sore, but it’s good enough,” Jones said.
He told Fredi Gonzalez he wanted back in today, and there’s a chance he’ll plays tomorrow too against the Astros when the Braves travel to Kissimmee. He normally would have taken Tuesday off and got back in there Wednesday, but the Braves are traveling to Ft. Myers Wednesday, which is a three-hour trip. Not too many veterans will be making that jaunt, just folks like….me. The backups of the bunch!
(Updated: Jones went 1-for-2 with an RBI single and a walk in Monday’s 13-3 win over the Astros.)
“I told Fredi I’d like to get some ABs under my belt, see how it is running the bases and sliding and stuff before I eased into the defense,” said Jones.
So you figure he’ll take Wednesday off, DH another time or two and then get back in there at third base. So maybe by the weekend or first of next week Jones will test out that surgically-repaired knee at third base, barring any setbacks. The fact that he didn’t have any swelling or debilitation pain today is a good sign.
This little tidbit for you…..today’s game will be Chipper’s second Grapefruit League game of the spring. That’s one more than Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, who is sitting out his second straight game today with knee tendinitis. They’re calling it precautionary.
Game 2 for Prado in left field
Today is the second game of the Martin Prado’s left field project, and by all accounts, so far so good. I didn’t see the game yesterday but Prado said today he felt good out there, got a couple of uneventful fly balls. When I asked him what the hardest part of the transition was, he said throwing.
“Throwing mechanics – different kind of arm action,” Prado said. “That’s what I’ve been working on the last few days.”
This was my first chance to see the new, svelte Prado too, 14 pounds lighter. I could see it just in his face, with him sitting at his locker. He and Jordan Schafer worked out together this winter in Orlando with Tom Shaw, Schafer said, a trainer who works out football players to prepare for the combine. Shafter thinks that will only help Prado as he adjusts to the outfield.
“What we did together this offseason will help him out there, just as far as speed work, the agility and cutting,” Schafer said.
Schafer said Prado caught a ball in the gap Sunday and asked Schafer afterward if he should have conceded to Schafer in center.
“He was like ‘You want that?’” Schafer said. “I was like ‘Nope, you got it. You called it, you’re good. If I want it, I’ll make sure I call it.”
So these are the nuances Prado is learning with an assist from his teammates around him helping him with positioning and such.
“That’s the important thing about this team,” Prado said. “Everybody is helping everybody get better. I get a lot of support from my teammates.”
This and that
Single game tickets went on sale today at 10 a.m. If you’re inclined, go to braves.com/tickets, the ticket office at Turner Field, the Braves Clubhouse Store at CNN Center, Publix Ticketmaster outlets or call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.
And since it’s making the rounds on Twitter, might as well include here. Bobbleheads are back this year at Turner Field. The Braves will hold three Bobblehead giveaways – to the first 20,000 fans at games on June 15 vs. the Mets of Jason Heyward, July 28 vs. the Pirates of Chipper Jones and Aug. 18 vs. the Giants of Dan Uggla.
David Ross’ homage to Chipper Jones lasted only a day. Socks are back down, long pants on. Said he took enough ribbing yesterday for having no ankles. Hey, the guy’s got to have some strong legs to sit in a squat all day.
Apparently Fredi Gonzalez is grilling out tonight for his coaches and staff. Bobby Cox told me that in the dugout, and I asked if he was cooking. He’s known to be pretty good with a spatula. His response? “He’s the manager now. He can do the cooking.”
Good to see Cox in khakis and golf shirt, tanned and relaxed. Been playing about three times more golf than he would have, had he been managing down here, he said.
This is the lineup Gonzalez has talked about using on a regular basis, except for No. 8 where Freddie Freeman will be and No. 9 the pitcher’s spot, obviously. So take a good look at it…
1. Martin Prado LF
2. Nate McLouth CF
3. Chipper Jones DH
4. Brian McCann C
5. Dan Uggla 2B
6. Jason Heyward RF
7. Alex Gonzalez SS
8. Eric Hinske 1B
9. Brandon Hicks 3B
Scheduled to pitch today: Derek Lowe, Scott Linebrink, George Sherrill, Cory Gearrin, Anthony Vavaro, Juan Abreu, Brett Oberholtzer.