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.
CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.
Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”
Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.