Notes: Chipper ejected in seventh

Notes: Chipper ejected in seventh

ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones had simply planned to allow his sore feet a chance to get some rest during Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Dodgers. Instead, he found himself in the midst of a heated battle that likely will weigh on his wallet.

While serving a as a pinch-hitter during the decisive five-run seventh that the Braves produced, Jones objected to the fact that third-base umpire Bob Davidson felt he hadn't checked his swing on a two-strike pitch from Chin-hui Tsao.

The strikeout immediately brought Braves manager Bobby Cox out of the dugout, leading to the 128th ejection of his career. That fired up the emotions of Jones, who had some choice words before and after being ejected by Davidson.

"Looking at it in slow, slow, slow motion, it could have gone either way," Jones said. "But that's not even what made me mad. The fact of the matter is he looked over at our dugout -- when Bobby stepped out, he [leaned toward our dugout], waited on Bobby to open his mouth, couldn't even tell what was said, and he threw him out. That's what upset me."

Jones joked that his day off was likely going to cost him money via the fines that may come in regard to his postgame comments.

Entering Sunday, Jones had played in each of the Braves' 29 games and proven to be a consistent offensive force. He was hitting .304 with a .661 slugging percentage and .418 on-base percentage. His 10 homers tied him with Barry Bonds for the National League lead and his 1.079 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) ranked fifth in the Senior Circuit.

When his right quadriceps muscle was bothering him earlier this week, Jones had planned to rest on Wednesday. But when a bruised left ring finger prevented Brian McCann from playing in that series finale against the Phillies, Jones opted to keep himself in the lineup and take advantage of the off-day the Braves had on Thursday.

Jones, whose quadriceps muscle has improved, entered this season with the intention of playing at least 150 games. Multiple leg injuries limited him to 110 games last year. During the 2005 season, a ligament injury to his left foot led to him playing in a career-low 109 games.

"We are getting into a pretty good stretch with four against the Padres and then the [10-game] road trip," Jones said. "My next day off will probably be when I [serve as the designated hitter] in one of the Boston games. It's kind of like getting a day off without getting a day off."

The Braves will play the Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 18-20.

Pena relieved: Neurological tests performed on Brayan Pena on Sunday morning revealed that the backup catcher has shown improvement since suffering a concussion in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's game against the Phillies.

"They said I improved a lot, and I feel a lot better," said Pena, who is on the 15-day disabled list.

After getting hit on the helmet by Greg Dobbs' backswing, Pena temporarily lost his hearing and some memory. When neurological tests were performed on Wednesday, he realized the severity of the injury.

"With the first test, my memory was very low and my reaction ... everything was very bad," Pena said.

Pena, who spent nearly all of Wednesday sleeping, didn't really begin feeling normal again until Saturday. As the days progressed, he thought about Mike Matheny, the former big-league catcher who had to retire last year after suffering multiple concussions.

"My mom and my family were worried because they said I wasn't making sense all the time," Pena said.

Some of Pena's long-term fears were alleviated with Sunday's results. He plans to begin taking batting practice again on Monday.

Salty gets second start: Opting to give McCann a chance to rest, manager Bobby Cox started Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate on Sunday. It didn't take the 22-year-old top prospect long to show off his strong arm.

After drawing a first-inning walk off Kyle Davies, Juan Pierre strayed too far off first base and Saltalamacchia fired a throw that beat the speedy outfielder back to the bag.

Saltalamacchia, who likely will return to the Minors when Pena comes off the DL, also retired an attempted basestealer while making his Major League debut on Wednesday. McCann was behind the plate for the first two games of this Dodgers series.

LaRoche promoted: With Wilson Betemit hitting just .140, the Dodgers are ready to give Andy LaRoche a chance to serve as their starting third baseman. Before Sunday's game, they promoted LaRoche from Triple-A Las Vegas and then immediately put him in the starting lineup. He is the younger brother of former Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche, who was traded to Pittsburgh in January.

Tuesday starter? The Braves still haven't decided who will start Tuesday's game against the Padres. While Oscar Villarreal is an option, Braves general manager John Schuerholz provided indication on Sunday that the club could either go with Kevin Barry or one of Triple-A Richmond's hurlers.

Coming up: The Braves will begin a four-game series against the Padres at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday. They'll send Chuck James (3-2, 4.83) to the mound to face Chris Young (3-2, 3.34).

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