He waited as long as he could, and finally, knowing he would need to undergo surgery at some point, decided now was the time.
With a torn meniscus in his right knee, Chipper Jones will undergo arthroscopic surgery today back in Atlanta while his teammates get ready for their second game in Philadelphia.
Wanting to remain on the roster until Martin Prado returned, Jones took a cortisone shot before last Sunday’s 5-4 loss to Baltimore. But the veteran switch-hitter noted that the pain had become too much for him to put off, especially after the last cortisone shot did not lessen the pain in his knee.
For Braves fans, this is a sign that “Father Time” is creeping up on Jones even more. After watching him tear his ACL last August in Houston, the 39-year-old Jones knew that if he continued to play on a bad knee, things could get a lot worse down the stretch.
But lets take a look at this in the grand scheme of baseball.
Last year, the Braves were hot, heading into September with a three-game lead on the Phillies three weeks after Jones blew the ligament in his left knee.
Things continued to get worse, as Martin Prado went down with a hip pointer in the last week of the season. Prado had been playing the majority of the season with bumps and bruises, including a broken pinky finger and a strained groin, but the hip pointer was too much to overcome.
After clinching the Wild Card on the last day of the season, thanks to a little help from San Francisco, the Braves were without two of their best players heading into the playoffs.
Go figure that Billy Wagner strains his oblique in the only game the Braves win in the 2010 NL Division Series, thanks to Rick Ankiel’s bat.
Back to Chipper. Hitting .259 this season with 23 doubles, 8 home runs and 46 RBI’s, the veteran solidified the middle of the lineup that had seen Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman scorch opposing pitching.
Jones noted that the pain was more extreme hitting from the right side, which he would have done against the next two Phillies pitchers in the series, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
While he will be out for at least the next month, Braves fans should be happy knowing that they have their veteran third baseman for the stretch run, and do not have to settle for watching the Braves defense give away games as they did late in 2010.
What Jones truly wants is another shot at an NL pennant, and with the pitching staff and the lineup the Braves have now, he knows the time is now.
While the Braves called up Brandon Hicks to fill the roster spot voided by Jones, the veteran will not travel to Phoenix for the All-Star game, instead staying back in Atlanta to recuperate from the surgery. It was his fourth selection to the midsummer classic.