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.
Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Padres have announced that interim manager Pat Murphy won’t return as the team’s manager in 2016. Haudricourt adds that Brewres manager Craig Counsell tried to get Murphy on his staff, and says to look for Murphy to join the Brewers for the 2016 season.
Murphy led the Padres to a 42-53 record after Bud Black was fired in June. He had previously managed for two years with Single-A Eugene in 2011-12, and at Triple-A Tucson and El Paso in 2013-14.
Former major leaguer Phil Nevin is a candidate for the Padres’ vacant managing position, according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.