LIVE: Braves try to locate offense (with Chipper on crutches)

Chipper Jones showed up at Turner Field today, the day after having season-ending knee surgery. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Chipper Jones showed up at Turner Field today, the day after having season-ending knee surgery. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Chipper Jones was back in the Braves dugout this morning — on crutches.

“I thought if the guys saw me around, it might lift their spirits,” he said.

Yes, or depress everybody with the reminder of what the Braves need to accomplish without him. With their National League East Division lead over Philadelphia down to two games and the potential of a frenetic wild card race they would prefer to not drop into, the Braves face the Los Angeles Dodgers again today at Turner Field. They have managed to split the first two games of this series, despite scoring only two runs. (For the record, the Braves have lost only one home series all season: in April against Philadelphia, dropping games two and three to start the nine-game losing streak.)

Jason  Heyward (lingering knee bruise) also is out of today’s lineup, despite the Braves facing a right-handed pitcher (Vicente Padilla), further weakening the offense. Manager Bobby Cox has moved Rick Ankiel up to second in the order, and Melky Cabrera will play right field and bat eighth.

Back to Chipper. David O’Brien and I will be posting more of his comments later, but he reaffirmed he still believes the Braves are a playoff team, given their starting pitching. He also seems as determined as ever to try to come back surgery for a partially torn ACL, even though he’ll be 39 years old next season. A sampling of his pre-game comments:

♦ On his intent to come back: “I proved to myself that I can still play at a high level. That confidence that you can still go out there and hit in the middle of the lineup, that’s not going to change. But I know what the first injury did to me from the standpoint of range and stealing bases, the ease of going from home to first, stretching a single into a double. That’s would be the first thing that weighs on me — what I can and can’t do compared to what I could do this year.”

♦ On his expectations if he did come back: “I’ve come to the realization “I’m not going to go out and hit .350 and hit 30 homers and drive in 110 runs. But I realize that I can still help these guys win ballgames. That’s the thing. That’s all you ever want to be known as a ballplayer. There are a lot of guys who put up numbers and don’t help you win ballgames.  I feel like I can do so many other things to help is win ballgames than just hit a big home run. I guess over the last two months I’ve come to the realization – not to sound brash or anything – that I’m more valuable than I thought I was. I would miss that. If I were to make the decision now to turn away I’d regret it, and that’s why I didn’t make it.”

♦ On the Braves: “Our pitching can keep ius in 90 to 95 percent of the games. It’s just a matter of somebody coming up with the big hit as for whether we win or not. We’re not going to blow anybody out 10-1. We’re gonna play a ton of these 3-1, 2-1, 4-2 ballgames in the next month and a half and we’re going to have to win our fair share of them.”

That’s it for now. I’ll be here blogging live during the game.

Here’s today’s question: After what you’ve seen the last two games, do you still believe the Braves are a postseason team?

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC and it will bring you fame and fortune. (Don’t break this chain.)

315 comments Add your comment

Pecan

August 15th, 2010
1:11 pm

Can we ever bunt or move a runner up. Bobby keeps waiting on the big inning.

mikedw

August 15th, 2010
1:13 pm

good to have you around, chip

Braves fan80

August 15th, 2010
1:15 pm

A rather depressing lineup.

Roy Hobbs

August 15th, 2010
1:22 pm

Tough to score runs all the sudden. It would be a huge boost if they can pull this game out and know that Prado will be back soon.

Katherine

August 15th, 2010
1:23 pm

Lets be positive today people…..lets go braves!

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
1:24 pm

For those who haven’t seen the lineup: Infante-4, Ankiel-8, Gonzalez-6, McCann-2, Glaus-3, Hinske-7, Conrad-5, Cabrera-9, Jurrjens-1.

Craig Skok

August 15th, 2010
1:25 pm

Let me borrow a phrase from the old yellow jacket announcer from yesteryear, “Brother and Sister, we gotta get Heyward in the lineup”! I fully understand we are protecting him but he has to realize this ain’t Henry County playing Rockdale. We need him in the lineup in big boy baseball.

steve whitmire

August 15th, 2010
1:26 pm

not exactly the 1929 yankees is it?

Sonny Clusters

August 15th, 2010
1:32 pm

We was hoping you’d be there, Jeff. Moving runners over and getting them in has never been the way with BobbyBall. Waiting for that 3-run homer with this lineup may take a long, long wait. Somebody better check centerfield and see if McLouth messed it up so bad nobody can hit when playing out there.

bobby

August 15th, 2010
1:33 pm

It looks like Heyward in going to be more injury prone that Chipper ever thought about being. What is this, 4-5 times already this year?

Reality Check

August 15th, 2010
1:34 pm

The Braves were trying to locate offense when Chipper was on the field also.

Naf Sevarb

August 15th, 2010
1:38 pm

When Prado is back things will fall in to place better. This line up is pretty sad

Chop It Up All-Star

August 15th, 2010
1:39 pm

I believe the Braves pitching staff (starters/bullpen) is of championship stock, but I feel that we are only a bat or two away from being a playoff team this year.

Sonny Clusters

August 15th, 2010
1:39 pm

Climbing on the deer stand is going to be tricky with those crutches. Clusters would never kill a little deer with a high powered rifle while sitting in a tree reading comic books and drinking cold, chocolate milk. That seems so unfair to us. We’d give the little deer a running start.

Naf Sevarb

August 15th, 2010
1:39 pm

If I remember correctly when Blanco was out there we were winning games and scoring runs. We traded him why?

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
1:41 pm

Game time temperature: 84 degrees. It only feels like 117.

Larry

August 15th, 2010
1:41 pm

Seems like old times!

Torre calls a hit & run that would be the difference in the game while Cox mines and mines and mines his nostrils, barks out 3rd grade nicknames to 30 year old men from the dugout, and waits and waits and waits for someone to hit a home run until 27 outs are recorded. Torre is an in-game, strategic thinker situational decision maker while Cox fills out the lineup card and screws everything up when he tries to think or decide anything.

And you Bobby loving goobers still can’t grasp why he is 1-14 in the last game and series in his 15 postseason opportunities afforded him by his GM, scouting, and player development. Because he is always out-managed by Torre and all other Managers in the postseason, that’s why!

Naf Sevarb

August 15th, 2010
1:42 pm

Mines his nostrils. Thats funny.

Bravesbobblehead

August 15th, 2010
1:43 pm

When M. Prada gets back and if Glauss starts cranking it up the Braves have just as good of chance of winning the World Series as any other team. Its the team that hot that wins in the playoff and WS. We do need a big bat and I thought Heyward would fill some of those expected HR’s. The pitching will keep us close in games, lets hope the bats wake-up.

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
1:43 pm

Craig Skok — The Heyward thing sounds minor, although then I guess the obvious followup question is: Why isn’t he playing? Sounds like it might’ve been his call.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AJC , Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: LIVE blogging from Braves (and Chipper's here – 1 day into rehab): http://bit.ly/djcb2g [...]

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
1:44 pm

Steve Whitmire — Are we talking the 1929 Yankees today? Because most of them are dead.

Ashley

August 15th, 2010
1:44 pm

I hope we don’t give up a run for a ground ball. We’re not scoring much against this Dodger team.

Naf Sevarb

August 15th, 2010
1:45 pm

Glaus starts cranking it up??

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
1:46 pm

Bobby — I’m not ready to indict him yet, but it’s something to watch.

Sonny Clusters

August 15th, 2010
1:46 pm

Dead bats playing today.

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
1:46 pm

Jurrjens allows a leadoff double and gets out of it.

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
1:47 pm

Dr. Clusters — Chipper make a hunting joke before the game. I suggested to him it might not be so wise to climb into a tree this winter.

Naf Sevarb

August 15th, 2010
1:47 pm

I am putting in an order for early runs

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
1:49 pm

Naf Sevarb — Should I type responses to you backwards? (Braves Fan).

Ashley

August 15th, 2010
1:50 pm

Eephus pitch? Sounds like the name of a laptop.

Naf Sevarb

August 15th, 2010
1:50 pm

Well played Mr. Shultz. Well played. You are smarter than the rest.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 15th, 2010
1:50 pm

Welcome back Jeff and Sonny C.

Slice O’ pie for the both of ya.

Jeff Schultz

August 15th, 2010
1:51 pm

Braves’ first inning: 6 pitches, 3 outs. Oops.

Naf Sevarb

August 15th, 2010
1:52 pm

Just 6 pitches to get out of the first. Not good.

Naf Sevarb

August 15th, 2010
1:52 pm

Ashley

August 15th, 2010
1:52 pm

Jeff, look at the bright side: at least we didn’t leave RISP this inning!

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 15th, 2010
1:54 pm

Ashley: Willie Stargell hit an Euphus off Knucksie in to the upper deck of Fulton Co.

Believe the seat had a plaque on it, only upper decker I know of.

DC Braves Fan

August 15th, 2010
1:55 pm

Hey Jeff, any word if they’re going to make a waiver move?

Ashley

August 15th, 2010
1:55 pm

That was rude, Glavine: “You were saying?”

Olsen shut up just then so that Chip could call the play. Olsen did the right thing.

bucky oneil

August 15th, 2010
1:56 pm

Last Sunday was a great victory for the B-team. I think we’re a little further down the alphabet today.

PhillyJim

August 15th, 2010
1:56 pm

From a Phillies fan: I’ve benn living down here for 20 + years. I hate to see Chipper go down like that.
I’ve been lucky enough to watch his HOF career with the Braves. Here’s to hoping he can come back !

Sonny Clusters

August 15th, 2010
1:56 pm

Yes, we was sure he would be thinking hunting. Here’s a quote, “I love the solitude of being in a tree with a bow and arrow. It’s my time to relax, get away from the game and everyday life and go head-to-head with a huge buck in the woods. It’s something I really enjoy and grew up doing. I think that’s true with a lot of the guys who play baseball.” If it was really, head-to-head the buck might have a bow and arrow, too.

We are a lot like that about girls and about cars but not about hunting.

BoroBall3

August 15th, 2010
1:57 pm

yeah seriously… and it would be the 1927 Yankees if he is trying to throw a little baseball lore into this blog

Katherine

August 15th, 2010
1:57 pm

the bats are going to wake up today….watch

Katherine

August 15th, 2010
2:00 pm

Jj looks good today

BoroBall3

August 15th, 2010
2:01 pm

JJ does look good, though it would be nice if he mixed in the curve/slider a little bit more too

BoroBall3

August 15th, 2010
2:02 pm

he called that a strike!!!!

peter nincompoop

August 15th, 2010
2:03 pm

I understand the need for the braves to be careful in their treatment of Heyward. I also understand the need for players to play through an injury when their team needs them. I hope he isn’t turning into a diva like Chipper was.

BoroBall3

August 15th, 2010
2:04 pm

…Troy…. nuf said on that one…