Chipper Jones’ left calf injury hasn’t gotten any better over the past couple of days, so the Braves have decided to place him on the disabled list. The team has yet to make a corresponding roster move, but they are likely to call up a catcher after David Ross left last night’s game against the Nationals with a groin injury.
Jones originally injured the calf when he was hit in the leg by a line drive off the bat of Rays’ center fielder B.J. Upton last Friday. While he hasn’t started a game since then, he did appear as a pinch-hitter during Wednesday’s game. This means he won’t be eligible to return until June 8, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told Chris Vilvamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’ll likely need all 15 days for the injury to heal and perhaps longer.
“They assured me it is going to be 15 days,” Gonzalez said. “It’s not going to be six days [and then he would be healthy enough to return]. It’s going to be the whole 15 days and maybe a little bit longer than that. You are talking 15 days plus six [more days already out of the lineup] without playing. It’s going to be a couple days of rehab also.”
Juan Francisco figures to see more playing time at third base during his absence, but the Braves also have the option of playing Martin Prado at third and Matt Diaz or Eric Hinske in left field.
Jones, 40, is hitting .307/.377/.485 with five homers, 24 RBI and an .862 OPS over 114 plate appearances in his 19th and final season in the majors. He began the year on the disabled list following knee surgery.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.