BRAVES LIVE: Chipper to test knee, hopes to avoid surgery

Chipper Jones is hoping to avoid knee surgery, which would lead him to miss road trip.

Chipper Jones is hoping to avoid knee surgery, which would lead him to miss road trip.

(UPDATED: Noon.)

The Chipper Jones medical watch begins in earnest today.

Jones is in the lineup for this afternoon’s game against Houston after missing the last two games with a slight tear in the meniscus cartilage in his right knee. Whether he joins the Braves on their seven-game road trip after today depends on how the knee holds up. Manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t seem overly concerned after batting practice, but the bottom line is that if Jones’ knee bothers him during the game, there’s a chance he’ll skip the road trip and stay home to have arthroscopic surgery.

“From what I know of that type of injury, you can play with it and you can’t hurt it any more,” Gonzalez said.

Jones and Heyward are back in lineup today.

Jones and Heyward are back in lineup today.

Translation: Even if the small tear turns into a larger tear, the surgery and rehabilitation would be the same.

Is this worry time? Not yet. Jones was limited to 95 games last season after suffering a torn left ACL. This is only a small tear in the other knee. He received a cortisone shot on Sunday, when he was a late scratch in the series finale against Philadelphia, and said it feels a lot better. If the knee flares up in today’s game, he’ll have arthroscopic surgery and likely miss two to three weeks.

Jones said his knee is mostly irritated when he bats right handed, which he would be doing today against the Astros.

“Right handed is what has irritated it up until this point for the past month,” he said. “There’s not a better time to [test] it than now. We have a lefty today. We’ll know today, probably after the game whether I stay home and have the surgery or go on the road with the club.

“I would rather go out there and test it off a lefty than go out on the road on the West Coast and find out it’s not OK and fly all the way back and get surgery. I’d much rather get it out of the way today. I woke up this morning feeling better than I have in a month. Strap it up and find out.”

Jason Heyward also is back in the lineup today. Here’s the lineup: Martin Prado (7), Heyward (9), Jones (5), Dan Uggla (4), Eric Hinske (3), David Ross (2), Alex Gonzalez (8), Nate McLouth (8) and Derek Lowe (1). Brian McCann is being rested. Gonzalez also wanted to keep Hinske’s bat in the lineup.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

206 comments Add your comment

Bschro3000

May 17th, 2011
11:36 am

First? And … no …

Herschel Talker

May 17th, 2011
11:40 am

FIRE MARK RICHT

Chipper just needs to retire and go hunting with Bobby. We need new, young blood.

PMC

May 17th, 2011
11:41 am

They probably need to just let him rest for a while whether it feels good or not. They need him for the long haul, not out hurting this knee more by numbing it with cortizone. Maybe he could be available for a pinch hit if needed, but playing whole games right now is just not a good idea.

Danny O

May 17th, 2011
11:47 am

Chipper’s health is always a concern, but he and the Braves have done a pretty good job most years of managing it. Even though he rarely tops 500 AB in recent years, I’ll take that when you’re talking about one of the smartest hitters in the game.

Anybody seen The Count?

[...] Today Chipper Jones to test knee today, surgery still an option Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) Chipper Jones is hoping to avoid knee surgery, which would lead [...]

markie mark

May 17th, 2011
12:01 pm

With Prado available, its good to have options. Prado is an excellent replacement when Chipper is out, but I love having both their hitting and fielding skills on the field at the same time.

markie mark

May 17th, 2011
12:02 pm

Jeff, does Chipper get enough love from the National Media that covers baseball to be a first ballot HOF’er? I know he deserves it with his record, but will he get it?

rc35

May 17th, 2011
12:07 pm

I just voted for the All-Star team, and in checking stats, noted that Chipper is right up there in offensive statistics. He’s also fifth among Braves in AB’s, so I wouldn’t characterize that as a high degree of fragility. I hope he has a great game today, and just wish I could be there to see it.

Bravo Dawg

May 17th, 2011
12:11 pm

FIRE HERSCHEL TALKER

This team needs Chipper… for the long haul. A torn meniscus does not heal itself. Get the knee cleaned up and see you back in two weeks. You are a HOF’er and we will take you when we get you.

Ken Stallings

May 17th, 2011
12:17 pm

From everything I have seen, every member of the baseball media openly says Chipper is a Hall of Fame player, most saying he is a lock for first ballot. He is one of the most respected players in baseball, by the players, managers, fans, and media. This is due not only to his production on the field, but also by his very straightforward manner in answering questions and interacting with the fans.

We aren’t going to know what we are missing with him until we are missing him — and I don’t mean for the few games he is out on DTD or DL basis. But, when we start a season knowing he won’t be there, then we will know what we are missing.

Bottomline assessment: in terms of players who started their playing careers in Atlanta, Chipper Jones is the single best position player in the history of the Braves franchise! He ranks equally with other such Atlanta Braves luminaries as Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine in terms of putting the Braves on the lofty pedestal they earned under Bobby Cox in the 1990’s to 21st century.

Of all the players in the history of the Braves at any time, I would only put Hank Aaron and Warren Spahn ahead of those five players I just mentioned — all of whom will be in the Hall of Fame to join the immortal two who are already there, among the many others who wore the Braves uniform who are also already there.

Chief pitchanono

May 17th, 2011
12:24 pm

Yeah if there is any question get this prodecedure done and over with (while Hinske’s bat is hot!!) We need Chipper most come September/October its keeping him healthy untill then thats the trick. I think he’s been playing too much anyway and needs to pace himself a little more. Go Braves!!

phil

May 17th, 2011
12:27 pm

markie mark

May 17th, 2011
12:02 pm
“Jeff, does Chipper get enough love from the National Media that covers baseball to be a first ballot HOF’er? I know he deserves it with his record, but will he get it?”

Probably not…I’ve brought this up here before. If you listen to the ESPN folks, you often here them express doubt, for whatever incomprehensible reasons, about Chipper….I swear, if he hit 45 hrs this year and knocked in 150 runs, he would still be slighted….

I was hoping he could somehow stay healthy and drive in 100 runs this year, thereby making his case a lot harder for them to all poo poo…..hope won’t get it though….

Aj

May 17th, 2011
12:30 pm

If Chipper can go…so be it— after all who has done more for Braves in last 20 years.

Truth

May 17th, 2011
12:30 pm

Why bash Chipper?

He is 39 years old with bad knees and still is out producing 20s year olds.

i would take Chipper anyday over all the Braves hitters with the exception of Prado

phil

May 17th, 2011
12:31 pm

Ken Stallings – excellent post….hoping you’re right about the good media folks! i agree completely he’s a first ballot inductee, but I do worry that the steroid talk might catch up with him, no matter how unfounded….

o-my

May 17th, 2011
12:35 pm

well said Phil. agree 110%

Steve

May 17th, 2011
12:35 pm

Jeff, is it OK to admit that I am extremely jealous that you get to be at the ballpark on this beautiful day watching the hometown team while I sit in my office cube all day without even a window view?

5150 UOAD

May 17th, 2011
12:37 pm

I thought the plan at the beginning of the year was for Chipper to play a few days and then rest a few days so his body would be healthy for the whole season.

Harris

May 17th, 2011
12:39 pm

chipper is done. he’ll play hurt some but that will not help the offense. you can’t play with bad knees and other ailing parts. just put him on the bench as a pinch hitter

PMC

May 17th, 2011
12:39 pm

He’s one of the top 5 switch hitters of all time. He’s a HOF lock.

clay

May 17th, 2011
12:39 pm

chipper is one of the only ones that was not on steriods during the big steriod era

Steve

May 17th, 2011
12:43 pm

Harris, too bad you don’t know or follow baseball. Chipper is “done” yet leads all NL 3rd basemen in RBI’s?

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
12:48 pm

Steve — Yes, it is fair to be jealous. Every job has good days and bad days. This is one of the good days.

ATLfan15

May 17th, 2011
12:49 pm

@phil, 12:27pm: good comment about ESPN announcers, could also apply to a couple of the MLB guys too. last night, Bobby Valentine said that he has nightmares about Chipper coming to the plate…considering what CJ did to the Mets at Shea all those years, i’d say Bobby’s memory is spot on. :-)

@PMC: Chipper is one of the top THREE switch-hitters of all time. Murray, Mantle…and Chipper!

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
12:49 pm

Markie Mark — (on whether Chipper is first ballot HOFer). I think so. But far be it for me to crawl into minds of some of the HOF voters.

ATLfan15

May 17th, 2011
12:49 pm

what a gorgeous day! i hate not being at the ballpark for the businessfan’s special. :-(

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
12:50 pm

Looks like it will be an extremely light crowd. More of you folks need to play hooky.

nique

May 17th, 2011
12:50 pm

Good move to give Freeman a break for Hinske. This might be a crazy question, but if batting right handed is causing the knee to flare up, why not bat left handed until it’s clearly healed up? I get that he’s not used to seeing a lefty pitcher batting left handed but he’s a HOF’er – how bad could he be with that approach?

Branchise

May 17th, 2011
1:00 pm

Ey Steve, is jordan schafer an option if chipper goes down for a while

Phil

May 17th, 2011
1:02 pm

Steroids and injuries go hand in hand!

Branchise

May 17th, 2011
1:03 pm

Ey Jeff, is jordan schafer an option if chipper goes down for a while

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
1:10 pm

Branchise — Prado would come in and play third so I guess it’s possible they’d call up an outfielder and go with Schafer, but not sure if he’d be first choice.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 17th, 2011
1:10 pm

Chip Carey with screwup #1 already calling the Red Sox manager Tito. Shouldnt he by now know the names? Its Terry, Skip! LOL!

lanier

May 17th, 2011
1:11 pm

what is it with all these Lastros constantly spittin. even the manager does. they never stop.
if it keeps up at this rate the field is going to become unplayable

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
1:13 pm

Lowcountry — Pretty sure “Tito” is Terry Francona’s nickname.

Todd

May 17th, 2011
1:14 pm

They talk so much about getting chipper and heyward back but watch them get beat today with them. i say rest them until they lose

Dr. Phil

May 17th, 2011
1:14 pm

Tito was the dad who played for the Braves a while back in the 60’s. Tito was pretty good. I wonder what he is doing now.

AdirondackDave

May 17th, 2011
1:21 pm

Ken Stallings — I agree with you on your points about Chipper, what he means to the Braves, and his place in franchise history. I would add this. A week or so ago, I decided to take a look at Chipper’s place among the all-time switch-hitters. Did a pretty thorough, side by side, analysis of Chipper, Mickey Mantle, and Eddie Murray. I don’t have the sheets in front of me to lay them out here but the overall bottom line indicated the Mantle was still number one but Chipper, who still has some numbers to add, is already ahead of Murray as number 2 on the all-time switchhitter list. It is unlikely, but still quite possible if his health holds up, that Chipper could reach or nearly reach Mickey. Eddie Murray, was a very fine, consistent hitter for 20 years who benefited from a long and healthy career. Mickey and Chipper have both been significantly slowed by those problematic pins among other injuries. First ballot HOF for Chipper is a no-brainer when you look at all the comparative numbers.

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
1:22 pm

Dr. Phil — My all time favorite Tito is Tito Fuentes. Mostly w/Giants and Padres.

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
1:24 pm

Chipper looks strong in field. His at-bat he failed to hold up swing and K’d.

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
1:27 pm

After that single, Hinske now 9-22 (/409) on the homestand. I’m no expert, but I think that’s pretty good.

Bill

May 17th, 2011
1:35 pm

RIP Harmon Killebrew…one great player and one great person!

Bill

May 17th, 2011
1:36 pm

On Schafer I think the Braves would go with rh bat..3 other OF doing better in most aspects of game but JS is doing alot better.

RJ in KS

May 17th, 2011
1:37 pm

Jeff, has there been any discussion of balancing the unbalanced schedule? From a fan perspective, I’d like to see a bit more of the rest of the NL rather than the steady diet of the Phils, the Fish, Nats and Mets.

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
1:40 pm

Jordan Schafer: 36 games, .254, 1 HR, 19 RBI, .299 OBP. Not good enough to merit a callup.

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
1:42 pm

RJ in KS — Fans have always wanted a more balanced schedule, whereas baseball tries to build division rivalries. I’ve heard of no plans to change the current setup. But I’m with you.

Bill

May 17th, 2011
1:45 pm

I didn’t say he didn’t merit callup..Jeff, but have at it… I was looking at hrs. TB and k’s etc and RH hitter. Mather was not that good and was called up…but you the boss.

Tron5000

May 17th, 2011
1:46 pm

Really hope Chip doesn’t have to miss any more time (Jones, not Caray…he can take a break), but I picked up Hinske in my fantasy league just in case. We need all hands on deck.

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
1:47 pm

Bill — I’m certainly NOT the boss. … I’m just not sure what their mindset is on Schafer now. I’m guessing they want to get him as many ABs as possible in minors and get his average/confidence up before he’s brought back. Mather can be an up-and-down guy between minors/majors but they’d rather Schafer not be that.

Jeff Schultz

May 17th, 2011
1:48 pm

There has been a single in five of the six half-innings — and that’s the only semi-interesting thing I have to report so far.