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.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.