Chipper set to play third today
To celebrate the start of ESPN The Weekend at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has decided to put Chipper Jones at third base for this afternoon’s game against the Tigers, which will be aired on ESPN.
OK, so that’s not exactly the reason. In fact, Gonzalez might not even know that many of the folks from Bristol have arrived in the Disney area and stolen some of the thunder created by Kenshin Kawakami’s arrival.
Essentially, Gonzalez simply felt Jones was ready to test his surgically-repaired left knee at third base today. The veteran third baseman didn’t have a problem with the decision. But until seeing the lineup in the clubhouse this morning, he was assuming he would wait until tomorrow to play defense.
“It was the manager’s decision,” Jones said. “I’m ready. One day isn’t going to make any difference. I could come in tomorrow with my knee blown up and be scratched. I feel fine today. I was actually going to talk to him about doing it today. He made the decision for me.”
This will be the first time Jones has played third base since he tore his left ACL on Aug. 10. He served as the designated hitter in exhibition games played Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
While Jones is in today’s lineup, Jason Heyward will wait a few more days before playing again. The 21-year-old right field exited Wednesday’s win over the Red Sox with some discomfort in his left groin.
Heyward said he felt some tightness Monday night and then felt some more discomfort while playing defense in Wednesday’s first inning.
After being evaluated by members of the Braves medical staff Thursday morning, Heyward said they don’t think he’s dealing with anything that should cause concern. He’ll likely miss at least a couple games.
“It was good that I got out of there at the right time and didn’t make it any worse,” Heyward said. “It was the right thing to do.”