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.
The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.
With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.
Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.