Chipper Jones has been cleared to swing a bat

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Chipper Jones — who I would have bet a good deal had his career ended with that torn ACL last summer — appears to be healing just fine: he’s been cleared to swing a bat and will likely be ready to go full speed once spring training begins.

We’re certainly in the twilight of the Chipper Jones era — and the days in which the Braves depended upon Jones to carry significant weight in the offense is over — but his health is still important to the Braves for strategic purposes. If he can man third, the Uggla-at-second, Prado-in-left scenario works out well enough.  If Jones can’t make it, Prado will have to play third and the Braves will find themselves in need of a left fielder. Again.

And if he does play, I wonder if Fredi Gonzalez will have the guts to move him to second in the order to take advantage of his still extant on-base skills and to place less pressure on him to hit for power.

Carlos Gómez fined for criticizing umpire on Twitter

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rays outfielder Carlos Gómez has been fined $10,000 for criticizing umpire Andy Fletcher on Twitter last week. Gomez himself didn’t disclose the amount of the fine, but he did say, “I don’t think it’s fair.”

During Thursday’s game against the Blue Jays, Gómez pinch-hit and struck out looking. Even before the game ended, Gómez went on Twitter and posted several videos of questionable ball-and-strike calls by Fletcher. He wrote, “If anyone needed to be ejected out of tonight’s game it was Andy Fletcher!!” Gómez apologized later that night but still called Fletcher “brutal.”

Gómez, 32, has had a tough year. He’s hitting .212/.302/.343 with nine home runs, 32 RBI, 42 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 400 plate appearances. It’s understandable A) that Gómez is frustrated and B) he might be looking for any kind of edge he can get.