Chipper's soreness could limit his playing time

Chipper's soreness could limit his playing time

ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones gingerly made his way back to his locker nearly an hour after serving as a pinch-hitter in Saturday night's 4-2 loss to the Pirates. The Braves' third baseman has been battling what he describes as "arthritic pain" in the lower inside part of his surgically repaired left knee.

"I don't know what the prognosis is, and I don't know why it is hurting the way it is," Jones said. "But if it continues to affect me the way that it is, then I can't go out there and play nine innings."

While there may be a point where Jones must go on the disabled list, the Braves are prepared for the likelihood that he will not be able to play more than three consecutive games. This has been the case since he returned to the lineup on April 10, two weeks after undergoing surgery to repair torn meniscus in his left knee.

Jones grounded out in his five-pitch, pinch-hit appearance in the sixth inning of Saturday's game. While he was not forced to sprint down the line, he said the at-bat eliminated the relief that treatment brought him earlier in the day.

"Some days I wake up and it feels all right," Jones said. "But ever since [Friday] night in the seventh or eighth inning, it's been really, really bad. If I wake up and come in and have a minimal amount of fluid, and they can give me something for that joint pain, I'll play. But I would have had a hard time going out there tonight."

Jones was not ready to rule out the possibility of being in the lineup on Sunday afternoon, when veteran Tim Hudson makes his season debut. To make room on the 25-man roster for Hudson, the Braves optioned right-hander Cory Gearrin to Triple-A Gwinnett.