LOS ANGELES -- As Chipper Jones gingerly made his way around the visitors' clubhouse at Dodger Stadium on Monday, he was displaying some of the left knee discomfort that has intensified over the past couple of days.
"I just have days where [my left knee is] just not working," said Jones, who was not in the lineup for the opener against the Dodgers. "I've been having some consistent pain in the joint line. I've been getting some treatment on it for a little bit. Yesterday was about as bad as it's been since I had surgery. As you could tell, I was not moving down the line very good."
Since making an early return from a March 26 surgical procedure that repaired torn meniscus in his left knee, Jones has not played more than three games in a row. His recent discomfort has been located near the bottom portion of his knee, around the joint line.
Jones hopes to be in the lineup as he celebrates his 40th birthday on Tuesday. But considering the pain he felt as he attempted to get down the first-base line during Sunday's pinch-hit appearance, the veteran third baseman was not committing to the experience.
"It would be nice, but it's not going to hurt my feelings [if I don't]," Jones said. "The good thing about having Juan [Francisco] is he's provided us some power and some offense. It's not a necessity that I be in there. So I can take my time whenever I am not feeling good."
Acquired by the Reds just before the start of the season, Francisco has batted .286 (8-for-28) with three home runs. His presence has given Jones the confidence that the Braves can still get consistent production from third base whenever he is absent.
Because the Dodgers started left-hander Chris Capuano on Monday night, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez started Martin Prado at third base and Matt Diaz in left field. But he said there will be times when he is comfortable starting the left-handed-hitting Francisco against southpaws.