Chipper Jones hopes to come off disabled list this weekend

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Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has his doubts, but Chipper Jones hopes to return from the disabled list as soon as he’s eligible Friday against the Blue Jays.

According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jones took batting practice today for the first time since undergoing surgery on May 26 to drain a hematoma on his lower left leg. The hematoma developed after he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Rays’ center fielder B.J. Upton back on May 18.

Jones is scheduled to have the stitches removed from his left leg tomorrow. While Gonzalez would prefer that he play a couple rehab games in order to get his timing back, the 40-year-old third baseman essentially says he’s getting too old for this you-know-what.

“I just feel like if I’m healthy enough to go down to play [in the minors], I’m healthy enough to stay here and play,” Jones said. “I’m not trying to help us win a Governor’s Cup [the Triple-A International League trophy]. I’m trying to help us win the National League East. And obviously the more I can be here, the happier I am. And we’ve fared pretty good with me in the lineup, so that’s my goal.”

“This is going to be the Gonzalez-Jones soap opera. The last answer I got from him was … he didn’t give me an answer. That’s what my wife usually does to me when she’s not really onboard.” [Laughter.]

Jones, who began his 19th and final major league season on the disabled list following knee surgery, is hitting .307/.377/.485 with five homers, 24 RBI and an .862 OPS across 144 plate appearances this year.

Dominic Smith likely to start the season at Triple-A

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Following the Mets’ recent signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that fellow first baseman Dominic Smith is likely to start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That is contingent, of course, on the veteran Gonzalez’s ability to remain healthy, which isn’t a guarantee.

Smith, 22, struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets have also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning. Puma reported in November that as a result of better dietary choices and a daily exercise regimen, Smith had already lost 11-12 pounds.

Gonzalez, 35, didn’t exactly have a stellar 2017 campaign. Along with battling back issues, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 in 252 PA. That the Mets’ Plan A is to go with Gonzalez over Smith says something about their confidence in Smith.