Andruw leaves game early

Andruw leaves game early with sore back

NEW YORK -- Andruw Jones left Saturday afternoon's game against the Mets because of a sore back and his status for Sunday afternoon's series finale remains in doubt.

Jones exited in the seventh inning after feeling discomfort during each of his first three plate appearances. He stumbled out of the box after ending the sixth inning with a double play grounder. But he first began feeling the discomfort while sliding into the plate in Friday's 14-inning loss at Shea Stadium.

"I play the game to win and my team needed me out there," Jones said. "So I just went out there to help. I should have just taken the day off and given the back a chance to rest because we had only like eight hours of sleep."

Jones, who is hitting .283 and leading the team in both homers (9) and RBIs (30) suffered the injury while sliding into home in Friday's seventh inning. Because a bat was in front of the plate, he was forced to make an awkward slide.

After Saturday's loss to the Mets, Jones said there was a chance he would play on Sunday. But Braves manager Bobby Cox also indicated he may choose to give his Gold Glove center fielder a day to rest.

"We're struggling," said Jones, who has seen the Braves lose four straight games and nine of their past 12. "We're not playing good baseball. It's tough for me to sit out and watch the game."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.