Frank Wren, Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones making progress from knee surgery, may play on Sunday

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Chipper Jones continues to take some encouraging steps in his rehab from left knee surgery. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the veteran third baseman was able to complete his first sliding drill earlier today, just one day after feeling discomfort in his knee.

“I felt [bad] yesterday,” Jones said of Thursday’s workout. “I had a bunch of fluid in my knee yesterday. I was kind of worried about it, but it’s good today.”

Jones usually slides on his left side, but told O’Brien that he slid on his right because he didn’t want to take any chances this soon after surgery. He has felt discomfort in his surgically-repaired knee on two separate occasions so far this spring, but has yet to miss a workout.

Jones won’t play in tomorrow’s Grapefruit League opener against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, but may be the designated hitter in Sunday’s game in Lake Buena Vista, also against the Mets. And if there’s any team that can make Jones feel like he hasn’t missed a beat at the plate, it’s the Mets.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.

It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.