Chipper Jones aims to return from knee surgery next week

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Chipper Jones underwent knee surgery just eight days ago, but the future Hall of Famer told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he hopes to be back in the Braves’ lineup at some point next week.

April 13 has been the targeted return date, which is the Braves’ home opener against the Brewers, but Jones took batting practice yesterday and said afterward that he hopes to make it back “a little sooner than that.”

Jones prefers not to go on a minor-league rehab assignment, but admitted that “the bottom line is I’m going to have to prove to these guys that I can go out swing, run the bases, and go all out on defense.”

Newly acquired Juan Francisco gives the Braves some depth at third base, but Jones remains a key piece of the lineup even at age 40 and posted an OPS above .800 last season for the 17th straight year.