Chipper Jones vowed to return in time for the Braves’ home opener after undergoing knee surgery on March 26 and sure enough he’s back in the lineup with three days to spare.
Jones ended up missing just four games following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Martin Prado and Juan Francisco have filled in for him at third base, but Francisco was a mess defensively yesterday and the Braves have scored just 2.5 runs per game in the early going.
Jones’ return means Prado can shift to left field full time, with Matt Diaz and Francisco likely losing the most playing time. Jose Constanza, who briefly supplanted Jason Heyward as a regular last season, was demoted to the minors to make room for Jones on the roster.
Free agent reliever Sean Burnett signed a minor-league pact with the Marlins on Saturday. Per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the left-hander is slated to begin the season in extended spring training and will work toward a role in the majors.
Burnett, 35, has not appeared in full-time role in MLB since 2012. He last pitched for a big league team in 2016, surfacing for 5 2/3 innings with the Nationals before returning to the minors. Despite signing a minor-league deal with the Phillies last spring, he failed to make the Opening Day roster and was released prior to the start of the season.
Complicating Burnett’s return is a slew of chronic elbow issues. The left-hander has dealt with everything from bone spurs to a torn UCL over the last six years, and will need to take things slowly in the minors before the Marlins consider adding him to the bullpen this season.