Chipper hopes to return from DL when eligible

Chipper hopes to return from DL when eligible

NEW YORK -- Encouraged by the progress he has made since undergoing left knee surgery on March 26, Chipper Jones believes there is a chance he will be ready to be activated from the disabled list when he becomes eligible on Tuesday. If not, he remains confident that he will be activated by the time the Braves play their April 13 home opener against the Brewers.

"If I am ready, I want to come off, plain and simple," Jones said. "Even if I don't feel like I can play nine innings of defense, I can still come off the bench and pinch-hit late if need be. We just have to wait and see. As I sit here right now, I'm not ready. But four days from now, I could be."

Jones will have an opportunity to test the knee when he takes live batting practice against Randall Delgado and Chad Durbin on Friday afternoon at Citi Field. The veteran third baseman, who will turn 40 on April 24, is hoping to compile enough at-bats during this simulated game setting to convince the Braves that he does not need play at least one Minor League game before being activated.

But the Braves believe he will likely need to make a rehab appearance. Jones had compiled just 25 at-bats in Spring Training before learning that he needed to undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Jones returned 16 days after undergoing the same surgical procedure on his right knee last July. But at that point, he had already experienced a full Spring Training and 329 regular-season plate appearances. "I'd like to stay away from going on a rehab," Jones said. "I'd like to stay with the club. But tomorrow is a good chance for me to get 10, 12 or 15 at-bats. I don't know how many at-bats I might get. But I certainly want to see some pitching and try to come out of the box on a few of them to see where we are."