Chipper Jones to begin rehab assignment tonight with Class A Rome

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UPDATE: David O’Brien now says that Jones will serve as the designated hitter for Class A Rome tonight and either DH or play third base tomorrow.

3:46 PM: Here’s a sudden and surprising change of plans. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chipper Jones will begin a minor league rehab assignment tonight with Class A Rome. He’s scheduled to play third base over the next two days and if all goes well, he could be activated from the disabled list Monday.

I’m telling ya, this guy is a switch-hitting zombie. No other explanation.

2:03 PM: Chipper Jones was originally expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Rome on Thursday, but the Braves pushed back his timetable after he felt some soreness in his surgically-repaired knee while working out with Triple-A Gwinnett earlier this week.

Jones underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee just two weeks ago, so it’s difficult to call this a setback. Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the veteran third baseman will be reevaluated Monday with Tuesday the best-case scenario for him to begin a rehab assignment.

“It’s not like it’s a pulled hammy, it’s a surgically-repaired knee so,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who said he always figured Jones would need closer to three weeks’ recovery time. “I always thought closer to three than two. You’re talking about a 39-year-old knee that’s got a lot of innings in it.”

Jones is batting .259/.340/.428 with eight homers, 46 RBI and a .768 OPS over 329 plate appearances. Martin Prado will move back to left field once he’s ready to return from the disabled list.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.