Notes: Chipper looking for power surge

Notes: Chipper looking for power surge

ATLANTA -- When Chipper Jones came off the disabled list on April 25, he homered in his second at-bat and gave an indication that the two weeks he had missed with a sprained right knee and ankle hadn't affected his swing.

But after providing a homer and a triple in Wednesday night's win over the Dodgers, Jones said his recent statistics haven't been indicative of the comfort level he's had at the plate. Before that two-hit performance, he'd produced just three extra-base hits in his previous 67 at-bats.

"They don't pay me to hit 150 singles during the course of the season," said Jones, whose .464 slugging percentage is his lowest since his rookie season. "They pay me to hit balls in the gap and out of the park."

Entering Thursday, Jones had batted .315 since coming off the disabled list. Before Wednesday, just 12 of the 39 hits (30 percent) he'd collected during that span had gone for extra bases. Over the previous five seasons, 40 percent of his hits were of the extra-base variety.

"I know I'm hitting over .300, but I really feel like I've been struggling," said Jones, whose recent extra work paid off again when he delivered a double in the first inning of Thursday's game.

When Jones hit his two-run homer off Brett Tomko in Wednesday's third inning, it marked the first time since his April 25 homer off Tomo Ohka that he felt good about his swing. The fact that it went to the opposite field made him feel better about the extra work he's done over the past couple of weeks.

"It's a mechanical thing with me," Jones said. "The fundamentals of my swing have been off for a while. It's taken a while to correct it and feel natural."

With Wednesday's two-run shot, Jones raised his career homer total to 336, allowing him to move ahead of Hank Aaron on the Atlanta Braves all-time home run list. Aaron hit 335 of his Major League record 755 home runs while playing in Atlanta from 1966-74.

"That will probably be the only time mine and Hank Aaron's name will be mentioned in the same breath," said Jones, who has played his entire career in Atlanta.

Dale Murphy holds the Atlanta Braves all-time home run record with 371.

Johnson's season is done: Dr. James Andrews performed a successful ligament replacement surgery on Kelly Johnson's right elbow in Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday afternoon. The Braves outfielder could be ready to play again in May of next year.

Johnson's elbow began bothering him during Spring Training and he tested it again during a Minor League rehab assignment the past couple of weeks. But he was never able to make throws from the outfield without discomfort.

The Tommy John surgical procedure that Johnson underwent is most commonly used on pitchers and rarely needed by position players. But Johnson spent his first few Minor League seasons as an infielder, and it was during the 2003 season as Greenville's shortstop that he began feeling some elbow discomfort.

Foster progressing: Like he did on Tuesday, left-handed reliever John Foster impressed while throwing a simulated game on Thursday afternoon. The Braves will evaluate him again on Friday to determine how his elbow has reacted to throwing twice in a span of three days.

When Foster began feeling discomfort after a March 7 appearance, it was widely thought that he would need season-ending surgery. But if he reacts favorably on Friday, he could begin a rehab assignment as early as next week.

Reason to cry foul: A couple of times this year, Tim Hudson has made exits that came earlier than one would expect when viewing his linescore. With his sinker, split-finger fastball and changeup working so effectively, he's fallen victim to the fact that opponents are fouling off a large amount of his pitches and, in effect, quickly raising his pitch count.

"What's really frustrating is when they keep fouling them off and then draw a walk or get a hit," said Hudson, who was 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA in seven May starts.

During Wednesday night's game, Hudson allowed six hits and issued just one walk in seven innings. Still, his pitch count had risen to 107, forcing him to exit with a healthy seven-run lead.

"It's almost like you almost throw too good of a pitch," Hudson said. "Instead of them putting it in play, they foul it off their ankle or chop it foul. I'd rather be doing that than throwing cookies."

Coming up: The Braves will continue their four-game series against the Diamondbacks on Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET. John Smoltz (4-2, 3.58) will oppose Enrique Gonzalez (0-0, 1.50).

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