Chipper Jones expected to return before home opener

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After seeing Chipper Jones work out this weekend, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has grown confident that the veteran third baseman will join Atlanta’s starting lineup within the next handful of days. Via David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“Definitely the home opener [April 12], based on [Friday’s] workout,” Gonzalez told reporters, “And maybe even sooner than that. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of days with him. We’re going to ramp him up to get him some extra work. And we’ll see how it goes, how he feels.”

Jones underwent surgery in late March to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and was placed on the disabled list just before Opening Day. Juan Francisco played third in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Mets.

Jones, 39, has already informed the Braves and the media that this will be his final season. The .304/.402/.533 career hitter batted .275/.344/.470 with 18 home runs and 70 RBI in 126 games last year.

Mets place Tim Tebow on 7-day disabled list

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Tim Tebow was placed on the 7-day disabled list with a right hand injury, the Mets’ Double-A affiliate announced Saturday. The outfielder was forced to make an early exit from Thursday’s minor league game and underwent some preliminary tests on Friday, but he’s still expected to consult with a hand specialist next week to determine the extent of the injury and give the Mets some indication of how long his recovery might take.

Tebow, 30, was promoted to Double-A Binghamton at the start of the 2018 season and has slashed .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS through 298 plate appearances so far. This is the first serious setback he’s experienced in two seasons of professional baseball, and casts some doubt on his ability to return to the field before the end of the regular season. A promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas (let alone the majors) appears to be all but ruled out at this point.

Tebow’s injury is the latest in a string of unfortunate mishaps for the Mets, who are also dealing with injuries to Yoenis Cespedes (calcification in heels), Noah Syndergaard (fatigue/’dead arm’) and T.J. Rivera (right elbow sprain), among various others at the major league level. Cespedes’ case has raised the most alarm over the last two days, as skipper Mickey Callaway claimed to have no knowledge of the outfielder’s remarks to the press concerning an impending surgery on his heels.