The Braves announced just a short while ago that Chipper Jones underwent successful arthroscopic surgery earlier today to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
This is the sixth knee surgery of Jones’ career and comes just days after the 39-year-old third baseman announced his intention to retire following the 2012 season. In an odd coincidence, Jones injured the knee while stretching just prior to the press conference.
Jones only missed around three weeks following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last July, so the Braves are optimistic that he could return as soon as the home opener against the Brewers on April 13. Martin Prado is expected to fill in at the hot corner for now while Eric Hinske and Matt Diaz will split playing time in left field.
Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.
Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.
Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.