MIAMI — No decision has been made and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is making sure not to assume anything until Chipper Jones agrees to it, but there’s a reasonable chance the veteran third baseman could go on a minor-league rehab assignment this weekend before rejoining the Braves.
Jones is recovering from May 26 surgery to drain a hematoma on his left leg after he developed a severe bruise from being hit by a one-hop grounder. He’s eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Friday.
He had his two stitches removed Wednesday, fielded some ground balls, took batting practice with the Braves at Marlins Park, and did some running including 10 short sprints.
“It was good,” Jones said, then showed his hands. “Got some blisters, got to get rid of them in the next couple of days.”
He reiterated this week that he wants to skip a rehab assignment and instead rejoin the Braves and play against Toronto this weekend at Turner Field. But he also knows that Gonzalez and other team officials would prefer he play at least a couple of minor league games and regain some leg strength so that when he returns, he might be at a lesser risk of injury and be able to play more initially without needing a rest.
Triple-A Gwinnett is away this weekend at Pawtucket, R.I., which means a drive up I-75 to Class-A Rome could be in the offing for Jones. Rome has a five-game homestand Wednesday through Sunday.
“Best-case scenario is maybe get him on a rehab assignment this weekend, if everything goes well today and tomorrow,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve just got to make sure that he’s ready, that his legs are ready…. I would like to send him to [rehab at] a little higher [level], like Gwinnett, instead of facing a 20-year-old kid throwing 100 and you don’t know where it’s going to go.”
Double-A Mississippi will also be on the road this weekend to face the Tennessee Smokies.
Uggla’s homering, walking, whiffing
Dan Uggla, who drove in five runs with four hits including two homers on Tuesday, is on pace for career highs in RBIs, walks and strikeouts.
The second baseman led the Braves with 10 homers and was tied for fifth in the National League with 37 RBIs in 55 games before Wednesday, on pace for 108 (his career high is 105 in 2010, his only 100-RBI season).
He was tied for third in the league in walks with 37, and tied for fourth in strikeouts with 60. That put Uggla on pace for 105 walks and 176 strikeouts, which would top his career-highs of 92 walks and 171 strikeouts. He had a .384 on-base percentage before Wednesday, while no one else in the NL’s top 10 in strikeouts had an OBP above .358.