With some recurring fluid build-up in his left knee and general soreness in his legs, Chipper Jones and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez agreed Saturday would be a good day to rest the veteran third baseman.
Jones was out of the lineup against Baltimore but available to pinch-hit. He plans to play Sunday’s series finale and will be used as a designated hitter for at least a couple of games during the Braves’ six-game all-interleague road trip to New York and Boston that starts Monday with their second series against the Yankees in less than a week.
Jones had arthroscopic surgery for torn meniscus in the knee late in spring training and had it drained a couple of times earlier this season.
“I don’t think there’s enough in there yet to warrant draining it [again],” he said. “But we want to be careful with it, so he’s giving me today off, play tomorrow, then DH a little bit on the road trip.”
He hoped that staying off the leg Sunday would help him get rid of some inflammation that cropped up late in the week.
“I feel like it’s gotten better since the off day [Thursday],” he said. “[Friday] night it puffed up a little bit, but it feels OK today.”
Gonzalez said Saturday was also a good day to rest Jones so that if McCann is out of the lineup Saturday (as planned), the Braves could have the switch-hitting Jones in it, and allowed him to play backup third baseman Juan Francisco against a right-hander (Jason Hammel) on Saturday instead of having him face a lefty (Wei-Yin Chen) on Sunday.
Freeman still day-to-day
Freddie Freeman missed his third consecutive start due to swelling in his left index finger, and the Braves first baseman wasn’t sure if he’d be able to play Sunday.
“It’s a lot better today, but I still can’t bend it all the way,” Freeman said, demonstrating limited flexibility in the finger due to lingering swelling around the knuckle in the middle. “Once I get the swelling out of this joint I should be able to go. It’s causing me to not be able to grip the bat and it hurts when I catch the ball, too.”
He was injured June 6 when hit by a throw from Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes at close range while Freeman was sliding into second base and Reyes was trying to complete a double play.
X-rays taken each of the next two days were negative and Freeman missed only one game entirely before returning June 8 in the late innings of a 10-inning game.
He tried to play through the discomfort and started the next five games, going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in the last two of those before deciding to rest the finger until it healed.
Because of problems with his dry eyes and the finger injury, Freeman has started only 15 of the past 25 games.
Eric Hinske was back at first base Saturday. Hinske was 3-for-35 with no extra-base hits or RBIs in games at first base before Saturday.