Injured Chipper not likely back before Monday

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The day after taking a hard one-hop grounder off his lower left leg, Chipper Jones’ ugly contusion was even uglier.

The Braves third baseman was out of the lineup Saturday against Tampa Bay and didn’t expect to play again before the four-game Cincinnati series that starts Monday.  He had severe swelling and discoloration above his left ankle, where B.J. Upton’s grounder struck him in the third inning of Friday’s 5-3 Braves win.

“It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen — or felt,” said Jones, who by “best” meant nastiest. “It’s not as stiff. We’ve gotten some of the swelling out of the joint, so it’s a little better. But it’s still pretty painful, to have to run, cut or push off, I think it’s going to be a couple of days.”

He hobbled through the Braves clubhouse after Saturday’s 5-2 loss, which dropped the Braves to 6-11 without him in the lineup (they are 19-5 when he’s started).

When he does return, Jones said he would wear a shin guard for the rest of the season.

“If I hit it again, like with a foul ball or something, it’s over,” he said, making a slit-throat sign.

As soon as Jones got to the ballpark, it was obvious he couldn’t play or even pinch-hit Saturday.

“It’s swollen and it’s three or four colors of purple and yellow,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Jones, 40, is retiring after the season and had about 100 friends scheduled to attend Saturday’s game from in and around his hometown of Pierson, Fla. Jones stayed in Friday’s game for four innings after the third-inning injury, but told Gonzalez he needed to come out after the seventh, when the injured area had stiffened.

“It’s safe to say my career in Tampa is over,” Jones said after the game,  maintaining his sense of humor in describing the incident. “If you’re standing 85 feet from home plate and somebody hits a rocket at you, you better get a glove on it. I didn’t.”

Jones and Braves trainers were confident there was only a contusion. No X-ray was taken.

“I mean, I would be able to tell if it was broken,” Jones said. “But, my gosh, that really hurt. Really.”

Braves not surprised by Prado resurgence

The guy in front of Martin Prado in the lineup had hit .362 with 11 stolen bases in his past 34 games before Saturday, and the guy behind him had a .313 average with seven homers and 31 RBIs in his past 29 games.

Batting second between Michael Bourn and Freddie Freeman can have its benefits.

Prado hit .345 with 16 extra-base hits, 19 RBIs and a .952 on-base-plus slugging percentage in his past 30 games before Saturday, including a homer, a double, a walk and three runs in Friday’s 5-3 win against the Rays. He went 0-for-3 Saturday to snap a 10-game hitting streak.

“For me, having a guy who can steal 70 bags in front of me, pitchers are going to be more aware when he’s on base and they’re going to forget about me,” Prado said. “I don’t think I’m going to see more fastballs – it hasn’t been the case so far. But they take a little bit off, like, ‘Let me worry about Mike. I’ll just make some pitches against Martin.’

“I feel like with Mike at first they’re going to throw to first a lot, and when they throw to home plate they just go [short] step. Pitchers say, ‘Let me battle against Mike and Freeman, it’s just Prado.’ If they think like that, it’s awesome for me.”

Prado is having the resurgent season the Braves hoped for from the 2010 All-Star. He has a .318 average, .393 OBP and .883 OPS in 39 games, after hitting .260 with a .302 OBP (career lows) and .687 OPS in 2011 and missing six weeks with staph infection in his legs.

“People were questioning if he could bounce back with a good year after what I think we all, and he, would consider a subpar year,” Jones said. “But Martin Prado is not a .260 hitter, and I knew from Day 1 he was going to come out and re-establish himself as a force.”

In his 10-game streak through Friday, Prado was 20-for-42 (.476) with a .521 on-base percentage. Bourn led the NL with 57 hits before Saturday, and Prado was seventh with 48.

“When Bourn gets on base, a pitcher has to worry about him stealing,” catcher Brian McCann said. “He’s a game-changer.”

And Prado?

“People who know baseball, people who watch baseball on a consistent basis, if you don’t think Martin Prado is a star in this league, in my opinion you’re not watching the right things,” McCann said. “The guy is everything you could possibly want in a baseball player. Last year he got a staph infection and was out for seven weeks. That’s not easy to do. That’s seven weeks not seeing pitches, then coming back and everyone’s expecting him to hit .320 or .330. It’s hard to do that.”

28 comments Add your comment

Hughdaman

May 19th, 2012
6:23 pm

Philly Phanatic

May 19th, 2012
6:58 pm

Phils will be in 1st easily by mid June just when Utley and Howard come back. If it weren’t for 8th inning snafus they’d be tied or better with the Braves. Haven’t blogged since we pulled an Atlanta Brave last year and had a great year but decided they like golf better. Of course we put the Braves on the driving range first with a monumntal choke. Phils starters too good and even with a patchwork offense are playing pretty good. Give them until June 10th and there’s no looking back. Where are all the comments?

Tommy

May 19th, 2012
7:33 pm

Hey Phanatic. Look at the standings and go cry to Mama. Shi Hu.

dawg4u

May 19th, 2012
7:56 pm

Utley will never again be the same player and Howard still swings at too many bad pitches and keeps regressing each year. The same will hold true this year. If the Braves fade then the Marlins have the best talent in the division top to bottom. I don’t count the Phil’s out only because of the starting pitching but unless they make it further than the divisional playoffs this year – Hamels will leave. Pence is the worst defensive outfielder I’ve ever seen and when Chico Ruiz is your MVP with almost a quarter of the season gone then things don’t look real great for the Fightin’s!

Tommy

May 19th, 2012
8:00 pm

@dawg4u.. You forgot Mr Halliday. He is not really seting woods on fire. Era over 3.50

dawg4u

May 19th, 2012
8:21 pm

@Tommy – U are right matter of fact his last win was his first in 5 or 6 starts and Cliff Lee can never seem to get any run support or bullpen help!

Tommy

May 19th, 2012
8:31 pm

They Are OLD and Doomed. Phanatic.. Chi chi moga moga kiki ti lau

go-BRAVOS

May 19th, 2012
9:06 pm

Until the Braves actually win a series from the Phils I would hold off on saying their finished this year. The Atlanta Braves are in Georgia and every team in this state finds a way to falter/choke when it matters most. I hope they prove me wrong this year but I expect that this season will end like they all have, in bitter disappointment.

Go Braves!

Tommy

May 19th, 2012
9:13 pm

@go-BRAVOS Have confidence my friend. It is our year. Go Braves!!!!

ACE

May 19th, 2012
9:23 pm

It is depressing to see how many times Chipper is hurt. Just thinki how many games Cal Ripken played in when he was hurt. The Braves need Chipper in the lineup. Today you have to tip your cap to the Rays.

go-BRAVOS

May 19th, 2012
9:28 pm

@Tommy. I have confidence but I’m also a realist and sports teams in Georgia just are not Championship material. 150 plus seasons in all Pro sports and 1 Championship, and I’m beginning to believe that 1995 never actually happened. I will continue to pull for my Bravos but history dictates that when it really matters the pitching will fall apart or the bats will go silent. Happens every year.

Go Braves!!

Tommy

May 19th, 2012
9:34 pm

@go-BRAVOS. I respect your opinion but I think you are wrong. That is my opinion. Go Braves!!!

Atlrf44

May 19th, 2012
10:01 pm

maybe by the 18th of June Chipper/Fredi G can come to agreement that DHing isn’t that bad..then he can play all 3 games of an away interleague series

ertl

May 19th, 2012
11:28 pm

Looking more and more like last year. Told you.

bruce

May 19th, 2012
11:54 pm

Trainer should have told manager get it up and iced to stop the bleeding and save 2 days or let him be macho and stay in and pay the price. When hit that hard in that place, macho does not cut it.

go-BRAVOS

May 20th, 2012
12:30 am

I haven’t gotten a chance to see the actual play that Chipper go hurt on, but how does a career 3rd baseman not get a glove on a ground ball. I know it’s the “hot corner” and all but still is Chipper that old?

Gas House Gus

May 20th, 2012
12:52 am

Ace is right. Bones Jones is no Cal Ripken…………………..Bones needs his rockin chair in the dug out so he can rest up his weary bones. Brave fans should expect the worst from Bones so they dont get disappointed :)

Charlie

May 20th, 2012
5:32 am

What is Uggla’s average with runner in scoring position, so far this season?

Nativebird

May 20th, 2012
7:46 am

And who is Atlanta’s replacement for Chipper next year? What’s the plan? If you say Francisco then this franchise really really is in much worse denial than we ever thought. One MUST be thinking big time FA or it’s a sad sad day. You’ve got to be thinking of the likes of a Longoria, Turlowiski, level altitude and giving up pitching abundance to get it. If not….middle of the pack once again.

MikeY

May 20th, 2012
7:50 am

Charlie, based on the official Braves site, as of this morning Uggla is hitting .267 w/ RISP.

Interestingly, he is tied w/ Matt Kemp for most runs scored in the NL (29).

MikeY

May 20th, 2012
7:56 am

Nativebird, my guess is that Prado moves to 3B and we go after a FA for left field. But in the current Liberty ownership, I do not think there is money to re-sign Bourn AND get that big bat, unless the Braves do not accept the team option on McCann or Hudson ($12M and $9M, respectively). But non-tendering Jurrjens is starting to look like an option, that would free up another $5.5M.

It is also interesting to look at 2013, from a money perspective, Chipper and Lowe come off the books, and free agents Bourn, Ross, Hinske, Diaz, Wilson, Hernandez, and Durbin are possibly gone, if the Braves do not re-sign them. That frees up about $38M. BUT we will have a number of arbitration raises: Prado, Jurrjens, and O’Flaherty are all arb-3. Venters, Hanson, Medlin, Beachy, and Heyward are all arb-1. My guess is that raises for all these arb-eligible guys will eat about $15M. So that leaves about $23M in 2013 to either re-sign our FA’s or sign new FA’s.

jt

May 20th, 2012
8:25 am

Any way we could get rid of Uggla? This guy is way over paid for what he contributes to this team. Never seen so many strike outs w/runners on base.

SportsBrain

May 20th, 2012
8:41 am

Nice comment Mike Y. Much as I like McCann, I’d rather keep Bourn and settle for Ross, rather than go all in for McCann and have to settle for another McClouth caliber CF.

Cal

May 20th, 2012
8:44 am

Prado will obviously take over at 3rd next year. My guess is that the Braves sign Bourn and pick up the option on Hudson, but that McCann is allowed to leave. Ross is a serviceable catcher until Evan Gattis is ready for the big leagues. For left field next year, a mid-level free agent like Kubel or Willingham makes sense until Todd Cunningham develops a little more power down in AA (which doesn’t seem to be happening as quickly as it should).

jack

May 20th, 2012
9:30 am

To Philly, Troll… Go back under your bridge.

MikeY

May 20th, 2012
9:56 am

If we release (or trade (if anyone would want him)) Jurrjens, it frees up about $30M total for FA’s next year. While I would not want to re-sign all of the FA’s we will have, we will still need a backup catcher, MI, backup outfielders, relief pitchers, etc to replace those we lose (I would like to see Hinske and Ross back), and all those will cost us, say, $7M. That leaves about $23M for a CF and a LF. Bourn and a mid-level FA are do-able for that…and I think we can keep McCann and Huddy for 2013. Note that if we do not accept the options on McCann and Huddy, we owe $1M and $500K buy-outs.

truefalconfan

May 20th, 2012
6:21 pm

stop playing around and give prado and bourn a new deal

VegasJay

May 21st, 2012
6:02 am

Phillies will be lucky to finish 4th

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