Chipper: Been a struggle getting back in swing after layoff

NEW YORK – The Braves needed Tuesday’s 4-3 win against the Yankees in the worst way, and Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons and four relievers did most of the heavy lifting to assure they got it.

But Chipper Jones also had a couple of big plays, including an RBI double and a nice play on a catch and throw to the plate to help Jonny Venters get out of a seventh-inning jam, with the 4-3 lead intact. That play helped offset an error charged to Jones that let in the tying run in the fourth, on a hard-hit ball that could’ve gone either way (hit or error) but a play Jones said he should have made.

A play he might have made earlier in the season, before a one-hop grounder smashed off his lower left leg on May 18, the impact of which gradually turned his lower leg into one massive, grotesquely discolored and swollen bruise that eventually required surgery to drain and landed him on the DL.

Derek Jeter and Chipper yuk it up a bit during Tuesday's game. Jeter and Andruw Jones presented Chipper with the third-base bag from the game during a pregame ceremony Wednesday. (AP photo)

Derek Jeter and Chipper yuk it up a bit during Tuesday's game. Jeter and Andruw Jones presented Chipper with the third-base bag from the game during a pregame ceremony Wednesday. (AP photo)

The 40-year-old hasn’t been the same since he got back from the injury, which is why last night’s RBI double – his first extra-base hit and RBI in a month – was so welcome for the Braves and for Jones.

“I’ve suffered consequences because of [the injury and DL time] here over the last week,” said Jones, who is 5-for-28 (.179) with four singles, four walks, one RBI and two errors in eight games since coming off the DL. “I think I’m hitting somewhere around .200 since I came back. But it’s coming. And when it does I’ll get back in the swing of things.

“It’s hard to get used to the speed of the game again, and it’s harder as you get older to be away from it and then come back. I’ve struggled with it up to this point.”

Unlike some injuries in his past, Jones wasn’t able to do much of anything physical during his downtime after having the leg drained.

“I didn’t pick up a bat for 16, 17 days,” he said. “It’s going to take its toll. And it’s not just offensively, it’s defensively too. I’ve made a couple of bad errors since I’ve been back. But it’ll sharpen up.”

Before that B.J. Upton ball smoked his leg just above the ankle, Jones had hit .307 (31-for-101) with five homers, 24 RBIs, a .372 OBP and .485 slugging percentage in 28 games, despite missing the first four games while on the DL recovering from knee surgery late in spring training.

He was having the farewell season he had dreamed of, making the most of his at-bats and helping the Braves stay at the top of the division standings.

The Upton one-hopper and his second DL stint in two months changed things. But Jones is still confident in his abilities and thinks he can help the Braves aim for the goals he and they had entering the season.

He’ll be honored by the Yankees in a presentation before today’s series finale at new Yankee Stadium. Jones isn’t in the lineup, because manager Fredi Gonzalez decided to rest him today so he’d get back-to-back rest days (the Braves don’t play Thursday) before the three-game weekend series at Boston that starts Friday.

Gonzalez had originally planned to DH Jones today, but will instead use catcher Brian McCann in that role.

Jones is available to pinch-hit, and he’d like nothing more than to top off what’s already been special few days in his final scheduled series against the Yankees. This morning he took time for a special tour of the Yankees museum that’s in the palatial stadium, including featured exhibits of his boyhood idol Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth.

“That was really cool,” Jones said. “You saw a 40-year-old kid just in awe of the history that I was witnessing, whether it was holding Mickey Mantle’s bat or holding Babe Ruth’s bat, or seeing baseball cards from the olden days. You know what I mean? So much memorabilia and paraphernalia that really takes me back to my childhood, because my dad had a Mickey Mantle bat in his closet that I always used to pick up as a kid. And I used to think, man, this is big, how you ever going to hit with this? Now I pick it up and it’s like, yeah, I could hit with this.”

He said it was uncanny to see the similarities between his career and that of the great switch-hitter Mantle, whose career was hampered greatly in the latter years by injury. Jones saw a picture of Mantle being carried off the field after blowing out a knee.

Jones said he wasn’t aware the Yankees were planning a tribute to him until this morning. He’s been honored with gifts and/or video tributes in every ballpark where the Braves have made their only scheduled visit this season, including by American League teams at Tampa Bay and now the Yankees.

“From my standpoint it’ll be really special,” Jones said. “Whatever they plan on doing, I’ll be extremely grateful.”

Yankees Derek Jeter and Andruw Jones, Chippers’ former long-time Braves teammate, presented him with third base from Tuesday night’s game, in a glass case. The P.A. announcer called Jones “one of the great switch-hitters of our time” and said maybe he’d be back at Yankee Stadium to play in the World Series.

BRAVES LINEUP

  1. Bourn cf
  2. Prado lf
  3. McCann dh
  4. Uggla 2b
  5. Freeman 1b
  6. Heyward rf
  7. Simmons ss
  8. Francisco 3b
  9. Ross c

(Hanson pitching)

• Putting up zeroes: Since May 8, two Braves relievers have made a total of 34 appearances without giving up a run. Craig Kimbrel, you folks might have expected to be one. But a month ago, how many of you would have guessed Chad Durbin would be the other?

Durbin has made 19 consecutive scoreless appearances since May 8, allowing six hits and an .122 opponents’ average in 15-1/3 innings during that stretch, with five walks and 16 strikeouts. This after posting an 8.25 ERA and .327 opponents’ average in his first 14 outings this season.

For the season, he’s .228 overall opponents’ average includes .225 against lefty hitters and .230 against righties. With runners in scoring position, he’s held hitter to a .167 average (5-for-30).

“He’s been the guy that’s held it together down there when some of us were struggling,” Jonny Venters said.

And Kimbrel? He’s back to being as dominant as he was as a rookie in 2011, or even more so in recent weeks.

The closer has 15 consecutive scoreless appearances since May 8, converting 11 consecutive save opportunities in that stretch and allowing just three hits (3-for-49, .061) with two walks and 24 strikeouts in 15 innings. Yes, that’s three hits, two walks and 24 strikeouts.

• Let’s close with a tune from a guy I know to be one of Chipper’s biggest fans, Jason Isbell, off his terrific album from last year, Here We Rest. You can hear the song by clicking here.

jason isbell

“GO IT ALONE” by Jason Isbell

Are you lonely tonight?
Are you out on the road?
I’m headed home to go it alone again.
Are you dreaming out loud?
Scared of the crowds?
I’m headed home to go it alone again.

It’s realizing just how close you’ve come to death.
and rearranging accordingly.
I’m realizing what I’ve lost and what I’ve left
and taking it home to go it alone again.

Find me a place
With salt on the roads
I’ll do what I’m told, and buy what I’m sold again.
She was enough
but that was never enough.
The wound that won’t heal
is pain I can’t feel again.

In real life these things don’t happen much at all.
Too bad we all live the dream.
I’m realizing just how far I had to fall
and taking it home to go it alone again.

In real life these things don’t happen much at all.
Too bad we all live the dream.
I’m realizing just how far I had to fall
and taking it home to go it alone again.

I’m taking it home to go it alone again.
Taking it home to go it alone again.

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB

2,711 comments Add your comment

southern hope

June 20th, 2012
1:30 pm

oh, a new blog….didn’t expect that for a day/getaway game! Thanks DOB!

Venice Jim

June 20th, 2012
1:31 pm

Thanks, DOB!

B_F 54

June 20th, 2012
1:31 pm

B_F 54

June 20th, 2012
1:31 pm

bravesgrl4life

June 20th, 2012
1:31 pm

BravesQueen, I’ve missed you when you’ve been on. I’ve been spending more time on the Facebook group I am part of. I hope this round takes care of things for you. Always in my thoughts and prayers, Braves Sister.

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:32 pm

Shut up George.

bravesgrl4life

June 20th, 2012
1:32 pm

Gameday mobile shows 2 videos. Hit the video button and it only shows one. It’s Jeter’s leadoff HR, no sign of Freddie’s jack. SMH

bravesgrl4life

June 20th, 2012
1:33 pm

it’s there now.

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
1:34 pm

BG4Life — I’ve missed you too. Appreciate the prayers, can never have too many.

Sopheee

June 20th, 2012
1:34 pm

Being proactive petrel?

Duke

June 20th, 2012
1:34 pm

Excellent gesture the Yankees made. Can I just say that Francisco is an automatic out?

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:34 pm

cabravesfan

June 20th, 2012
1:35 pm

Somebody needs to bring me junk food for lunch…

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
1:35 pm

Fols

June 20th, 2012
1:36 pm

cab…I am diving into a Kit Kat Chunky bar right now!

Bat Masterson

June 20th, 2012
1:37 pm

BravesQueen _

Good to see you. Best wishes

Owl Hunter

June 20th, 2012
1:37 pm

It’s too bad Francisco is out of options. He needs to be getting ABs in the minors.

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:37 pm

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
1:37 pm

Hi Bat! Thank you so much.

Sopheee

June 20th, 2012
1:38 pm

Hola BQ! Happy Wednesday.

Murph

June 20th, 2012
1:38 pm

I really hope the team doesn’t go after Swisher next season… he reminds me of Jack Parkman from “Major League 3″ or whichever one it was.

Don’t like him.

The A Bomb

June 20th, 2012
1:39 pm

With all the breaking balls get Dr. James Andrews in the dugout — fast!

cabravesfan

June 20th, 2012
1:39 pm

BravesQueen-

In case you didn’t get to see my greeting on the old blog, Hi! Glad you’re feeling well enough to stop by :D

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
1:39 pm

Just taking things one day at a time….
If I can’t handle that, then it becomes one breath at a time. And let me tell you, there are days when that’s all I can handle.

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:39 pm

Good To Hear Boog Powell and Don Sutton Again

I read this, then had to think twice about it. Then learned the Boog just landed in Omaha for the CWS…

These fourth grade nicknames are a bit outta control…

urban redneck

June 20th, 2012
1:39 pm

the only thing more lame than “first”…………..is saying you are first when you are third.

dbags.

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
1:40 pm

Cab —

I saw it. :) That’s why I hadn’t said hello (again). Of course, I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to chat with you all when I can.

Sopheee

June 20th, 2012
1:41 pm

Sit down, buttface.

bravesgrl4life

June 20th, 2012
1:41 pm

Interesting called strike 3 was just a shade inside from where ball 2 was.

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:41 pm

Ohh, that last SO was presented by McDonalds… :smile:

George

June 20th, 2012
1:42 pm

Repost from old blog. BTW great picture of JETER and CHIPPER in new blog and thank you DOB for good new blog.
************************************************George

June 20th, 2012
1:35 pm
Brava

June 20th, 2012
1:03 pm
She’s not the only one, George. I’ve got your back, so go ahead, say stuff.

That’s because Bat and I are nolie’s sidekicks and nolie supports you too, George.
*********************************************************************
Thank you all, and McFann for pointing out FREDI said 6/19 CHIPPER would DH today.

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

June 20th, 2012
1:42 pm

Hi, BravesQueen! :)

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
1:43 pm

Interesting stat — Hanson goes through (at least) 4 jerseys during a game. Wow!

Also Yankee stadium has air conditioning dugouts..with AC blowing at the back of the players heads. :)

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
1:44 pm

Hiya McFann!! :)

flange1

June 20th, 2012
1:45 pm

George,

I think you had at least 10 posts on the old blog, would you mind reposting those as well?

Thanks

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:45 pm

I think I will become a REDS fan, they seam like a team that wants two win – George March 13th 2012

Cause changing your mind in NOT allowed. Ever.

bostonbravo

June 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

What was up with Gimper Jones snuggling in the dugout with Havana Fats in pregame promo? Did Mrs. Jones push #10 over to the dark side??

bravesgrl4life

June 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

Uh oh. Gotta get the next guy.

ChattTownBrian

June 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

Hanson just screws himself. 0-2 hanger after he walks a bad hitter in Chavez

bravesgrl4life

June 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

Larry

June 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

Hilarious!

A story about Chipper on a day he does’t play….as usual.

What a total waste of $14,000,000.00 good dollars this team could use right about now.

David O'Brien

June 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

A two-out walk and Russell Martin double, Yankees on 2nd and 3rd in 2nd against Hanson…. Nix pops out to end inning

George Stein

June 20th, 2012
1:47 pm

“Chipper needs to understand that 70% of Chipper Jones is better than almost every other player.”

- Jason Heyward

ChattTownBrian

June 20th, 2012
1:48 pm

Who’s brlliant idea was it to wear those dark blue jersey’s on a 96 degree afternoon day? Hanson called it, right?

flange1

June 20th, 2012
1:49 pm

Good one George Stein!

Fols

June 20th, 2012
1:49 pm

I love Chip, but this version of 70% Chip playing 1/3 of the games is not better than almost every other player.

DAP

June 20th, 2012
1:49 pm

yeah, there are places in this lineup to go to get outs. hanson needs to get every one of them. missed 2 in that inning.

flange1

June 20th, 2012
1:50 pm

Bend but don’t break Tommy Gun!

ChattTownBrian

June 20th, 2012
1:50 pm

well even Leo Mazzone on the pre game radio show was confused why CJ wasn’t playing today, especially with an off day tomorrow. A Chipper with one hand tied behind his back is a better hitter than Francisco.

bravesgrl4life

June 20th, 2012
1:50 pm

MARTEEEEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!

P. Bull Terrier

June 20th, 2012
1:50 pm

Too bad the Brave don’t have a nearby minor league team that Chipper could have played on for a week or two so he could recover his timing and stamina, instead of trying to rehab in the middle of a major league line-up.

Brava

June 20th, 2012
1:50 pm

Marteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!!!!!!!!!!

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
1:50 pm

NICE HR, PRADO!!!!

Braves Fan in Maine

June 20th, 2012
1:51 pm

what radio station can I listen to the braves on the computer

David O'Brien

June 20th, 2012
1:51 pm

Prado homer and a 4-1 Braves lead in the 3rd.

B_F 54

June 20th, 2012
1:51 pm

Marteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:51 pm

Martin Prado folks…He’s here all day…

Fols

June 20th, 2012
1:51 pm

I don’t even know where I came up with 1/3 of the games………lol

But he’s out of the line-up just as often as he’s in………wait that’s not accurate either.

Whateve’s, we got this one!

cabravesfan

June 20th, 2012
1:51 pm

TEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!!!!!

ChattTownBrian

June 20th, 2012
1:51 pm

Stop it Martin. You can make a grown man blush … :oops:

Fols

June 20th, 2012
1:52 pm

At 1:06 p.m. (old bloggage) I called GREATER than 6 runs today.

I’m going to make that a reality folks!

Bat Masterson

June 20th, 2012
1:52 pm

Where is phil today?

Tomahawkin

June 20th, 2012
1:52 pm

MARTINIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

BOOM SHOTLOCK BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:53 pm

More than five, and I am getting my oil changed tomorrow.

southern hope

June 20th, 2012
1:53 pm

It’s 4-1 Braves in the 3rd? The Yankees have us right where they want us…

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:53 pm

ChattTownBrian

June 20th, 2012
1:55 pm

Lemke made a good point on Uggla. He thinks because he was getting pitched so carefully that he has to get his timing back now that pitchers seem to way more aggressive with him. Yeah, he’s way behind pitches. Looks awful

cabravesfan

June 20th, 2012
1:55 pm

P. Bull Terrier-

But…don’t you know that sending Chipper to the minors to rehab was just to drive up attendance at Rome? Just ask George!

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
1:56 pm

ChattTownBrian — I just wanted to say I saw your apology the other night. I hadn’t the opportunity to come back and say Thanks!

Fols

June 20th, 2012
1:56 pm

At first I thought, the trolls are really behaving…but then it hit me! School is still in session.

Brian from SC

June 20th, 2012
1:56 pm

The Braves enter today’s game 29-9 when either Chipper, Freeman, or Heyward drive in a run.

Bat Masterson

June 20th, 2012
1:57 pm

Pitching. _ Ease

So he’s fat and uses a fake name. Go figure

Venice Jim

June 20th, 2012
1:57 pm

I have to say that my main thought in reading the blog was that it was extremely important for Chipper to have had a rehab assignment, and maybe it should have been longer. No offense to George…

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:57 pm

School is out for the summer.

Unless…they are in summer school…Which might explain ALOT…

Ease

June 20th, 2012
1:58 pm

No offense to George…

Why not?

David O'Brien

June 20th, 2012
2:00 pm

Yankees starter Phil Hughes had allowed 2 or fewer runs in 6 of past 7 starts before today, when he allowed 3 in 1st inning

bravesgrl4life

June 20th, 2012
2:01 pm

I’m getting my oil changed tomorrow, too, but I’m not going to Express Oil Change. Last time I had the oil changed there in my Altima, they apparently didn’t tighten the filter plug properly (discovered by the NTB guys I took it to the next time). Plus, having bought my Challenger, I get 5 complimentary oil changes, so I’m taking the car to the dealer tomorrow. They also are going to detail the car since they didn’t clean it before I picked it up.

Brian from SC

June 20th, 2012
2:02 pm

Still looking like six innings for Hanson, even if things go well.

One Big Dummy

June 20th, 2012
2:02 pm

Shaun

June 20th, 2012
2:04 pm

Uggla in June: .358 OBP/.404 SLG. Heyward, Ross, Simmons and Bourn have been more productive in June so far. Uggla has a 109 wRC+, far from bad, especially for a second baseman. But you know his batting average is only .173 in June, so he’s awful, right?

Brave Hawkeye

June 20th, 2012
2:05 pm

WFIS 1600 am

ChattTownBrian

June 20th, 2012
2:05 pm

That girl got hit in the face. Y’all see that

B_F 54

June 20th, 2012
2:06 pm

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
2:07 pm

Ouch! I wouldn’t have wanted to be on the receiving end of that baseball.

B_F 54

June 20th, 2012
2:07 pm

J Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!!!

BravesQueen

June 20th, 2012
2:07 pm

Woo-hoo!!! HEYWARD!!!!

Brava

June 20th, 2012
2:08 pm

Jason with da Bomb!!!!!!!!!!

McFann :Ô: :Ô: :ô:

June 20th, 2012
2:08 pm

Yay, Heyward!!

Tomahawkin

June 20th, 2012
2:08 pm

J-HEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

BOOM

This Is How WE DO IT!!!!!!!!!

Ease

June 20th, 2012
2:08 pm

cabravesfan

June 20th, 2012
2:08 pm

JASON!!!!!!!

bravesgrl4life

June 20th, 2012
2:08 pm

Way to go J-Hey!!!!

Brian from SC

June 20th, 2012
2:08 pm

According to the ESPN Gamecast, Hughes through 7 straight pitches to around the same spot. One too many, it seems.

Bat Masterson

June 20th, 2012
2:09 pm

There ya go, Efrim

No it’s on Heap

Brian from SC

June 20th, 2012
2:09 pm

*threw…geez.

Efrim

June 20th, 2012
2:09 pm

Did I call it, or what? :)

D.A. Nuggla

June 20th, 2012
2:09 pm

Was very impressed when they showed a shot of Hanson’s girlfriend in the stands a little bit ago. Wow, how does HE rate that? That “Millwood -looking thang” must have luck on his side. Oh, that’s right, just remembered he does make a lot of money! Money trumps looks with the women every time.

David O'Brien

June 20th, 2012
2:09 pm

Heyward is hurtin’ baseballs in June.

Brave New World

June 20th, 2012
2:09 pm

The J-Hey Kid!!!!!!!

Sopheee

June 20th, 2012
2:09 pm

Belated ‘teeeeeeen.

Go Hey, go!

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