His belief that the Baseball Gods have forsaken the Braves and his losing a grounder in the lights on Monday notwithstanding, Chipper Jones has been really damn useful lately. In September he’s hitting .309/.372/.529 and has been one of the few bright spots for a skidding Braves team. This kid may make something of himself in this game one day.
But tonight he’s absent. Jones has gotten leave to be away from the team due to his son having to undergo a surgical procedure. I would assume it’s not terribly serious because he’s expected to rejoin the team for Friday’s game against the Nationals.
Martin Prado will play third base. The Braves are also without Alex Gonzalez due to a strained right calf, so he’ll be replaced by Jack Wilson at short, giving Atlanta a new look left side of the infield.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.