As was mentioned in the recaps this morning, Chipper Jones hurt his oblique in yesterday’s loss to the Cubs. He was originally listed as day-to-day, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that he got a cortisone shot today and because of whatever voodoo accompanies cortisone shots he’s out until at least Monday, and may miss some more time.
My guess is that he’ll once again begin pursuing Cal Ripken’s Iron Man title on Wednesday of next week, due to the no-travel offday Tuesday which would give him some more time to heal. Also worth noting is that between Eric Hinske, Troy Glaus Martin Prado and Omar Infante, the Braves are rotten with guys who can at least pretend to play a little third base if need be. My guess is that they’ll either plug Infante directly at third or else play Infante at second and move Prado over.
While all of this may be distressing to some Braves fans, David O’Brien reminded us this morning that the team went 9-1 when Chipper missed ten games last season. Fact is, the offense doesn’t depend on him the way it used to and the Braves will get by without him for a few days.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.