UPDATE: David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Jones is out of Saturday’s lineup.
8:34 AM: Chipper Jones has exceeded all expectations coming back from left knee surgery, batting .274/.341/.425 with two homers, five doubles and 14 RBI over his first 82 plate appearances. He has appeared in every game this season and even hit a key two-run double in the fourth inning of last night’s win over the Giants.
I’m convinced that Jones is a switch-hitting zombie at this point, but it has all seemed a bit too good to be true considering his recent history with injuries. And according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Jones is currently experiencing some pain in his right knee.
“I’ve got some pain in the lower inside of my knee that is preventing me from pushing off and cutting and stuff like that,” Jones said after Friday night’s 4-1 win over the Giants. “It’s just a really sharp pain. I don’t know why it’s doing it. But it’s been doing it for the past 10 days or so. I don’t know if it was the cold, but it was really pronounced tonight.”
Jones played the entirety of last night’s game, but told Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez that he might not be available to play this afternoon against Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum.
After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.
In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.
The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.
“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”
Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.359/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.