Chipper Jones’ recovery from knee surgery last Saturday has gone well and the Braves third baseman said yesterday that he’s “felt fine for a few days now.”
Jones told Chris Cox of MLB.com that he’s optimistic about coming off the disabled list when eligible on July 24, but remains undecided about whether he’ll head out on a minor-league rehab assignment first or simply jump right back into the Braves’ lineup. He’s scheduled to hit off a tee today.
Jones was selected for his seventh All-Star game despite finishing the first half with a modest .259 batting average and .768 OPS in 77 games, but he was in the midst of a 9-for-28 (.321) hot streak to start this month before being shut down with two games to go before the break.
His absence has been doubly tough for the Braves because Martino Prado is also on the DL, so they’ve turned to 35-year-old Julio Lugo and his decrepit bat for back-to-back starts in his place. However, barring a setback Prado could rejoin the lineup as soon as tonight after missing more than a month with a staph infection in his calf.
In a mailbag published on Thursday, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post says he has spoken with Arenado and his agent from the Wasserman Media Group. Based on that, he says the Rockies have not broached the subject of a contract extension with the All-Star third baseman.
Arenado will enter his second of four years of arbitration eligibility after earning $5 million for the 2016 season. He’s due to a hefty pay raise and will continue on that track into free agency after the 2019 season. It may behoove the Rockies to get extension talks started sooner rather than later. Saunders, however, thinks that Arenado wants to see if the Rockies become contenders in the next two seasons before signing the dotted line.
Arenado, 25, enters Thursday’s action batting .293/.361/.567 with 40 home runs, 130 RBI, and 112 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. His 40 homers is best in the National League and the 130 RBI are best in the majors. He has an argument for winning the National League Most Valauble Player Award.
Agent Scott Boras eulogized client Jose Fernandez at his funeral on Thursday. Boras couldn’t even get through the first sentence without breaking down in tears. It was difficult to watch without wanting to sob myself, but it was a touching eulogy that spoke for a lot of people who were fond of Fernandez.