Chipper Jones has already resumed facing live pitching, less than two weeks removed from arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Jones felt “real good” taking swings against teammate Randall Delgado in a simulated game this afternoon at Citi Field. While the 39-year-old believes he “will be ready physically” to come off the disabled list when he’s first eligible on Tuesday, he also acknowledged that he might need a few additional days to work on his timing.
With that in mind, the Braves would prefer that Jones play in at least one minor league rehab game. Bowman suggests that could happen Thursday with Class A Rome, which could set up his potential return for the Braves’ home opener next Friday against the Brewers.
Martin Prado and Juan Francisco will fill in at third base until Jones is ready to return. Francisco, who was recently acquired from the Reds, is slated to start at the hot corner Saturday and Sunday against the Mets.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.