Chipper declares himself ready and responds to Foxworthy
The Braves activated Chipper Jones from the disabled list on Sunday afternoon and placed him in the starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Blue Jays.
Jones declared himself ready after experiencing no problems while playing six innings for Class A Rome on Saturday night. The normal soreness he had felt while playing five innings the night before was a product of the fact that he had recorded just one pinch hit appearance since being struck on the left calf with a line drive on May 18. <p>
When asked what he accomplished during his two-game stint in Rome, Jones provided the reminder that he does not like rehab assignments.
“I told them I was fine when I went down there,” Jones said. “I told them I could have played nine (innings) the first game down there. My legs felt great. I didn’t even have any soreness the second day. There’s no limitations.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez playfully said he lost a bottle of wine because he was not able to convince Jones to play at least three games during his rehab stint. But he seemed pleased that his 40-year-old third baseman at least gave himself a chance to strengthen his legs for a couple days.
“I think they just wanted to make sure I didn’t come off the DL and tweak a groin or a hamstring or something and then have to go back on the DL,” Jones said. <p>
Jones said he will wear a protective guard to cover both his right and left ankles while batting. He can only hope he is not reintroduced to the misfortune that struck him when he was hit on the left calf with a sharp grounder that hopped off the Tropicana Field turf on May 18. An ugly bruise formed and worsened until he was placed on the disabled list a week later.
“I’ve seen plenty of guys spike a slider and guys get hit in the back foot, back ankle,” Jones said. “I think if I took another one off that area, just take me out back and shoot me.”
Jones said he was regrets that this rehab stint prevented him being present on Friday, when the Braves inducted John Smoltz into their Hall of Fame and retired his jersey.
“That was very disappointing,” Jones said. “I’m the guy who has played with Smoltzie the longest and certainly wanted to be here. It was a great weekend for the Braves’ organization. Anytime we are retiring one of our own, I want to be there for that. Hopefully, he doesn’t hold it against me in the future.”
Smoltz’s good friend Jeff Foxworthy actually made sure Jones was a part of the ceremonies. The comedian began his hilarious address with some lines that referenced the veteran third baseman’s health.
Foxworthy began by saying that he got excited because the Braves called him just a few days before last week’s Draft. He followed with this:
“I was like, yes they finally see the benefit of a 53-year-old ballplayer. I know a lot of you are thinking that is crazy, you couldn’t play pro ball, you’re old. Well, so is Chipper. He’s breaking more than a Pakistani taxi cab these days. And his knees. I’ve seen better joints on Ron White’s bus. I told Smoltzie, Chipper is playing 12 more games a year than I do, but making $18 million more.”
Chipper laughed and provided this response:
“That’s funny. A guy that sits there and writes jokes for a living is bagging on me. OK. I’ll save mine. Hey Jeff come to my ceremony please.“