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.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.