ATLANTA -- Braves third baseman Chipper Jones recently started a weight program that is intended to help him regain the leg strength he needs to play more consistently than he has during this season's first month.
Jones began a lifting program that focuses on strengthening his quadriceps and thigh muscles. The hope is that this will help minimize the fluid that has continued to build around his left knee since he returned to action just two weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
"Whenever you get fluid around the joint, the muscles around it shut down and atrophy," Jones said. "[Braves trainer Jeff Porter] said I wouldn't make it to the All-Star break if I didn't get on some kind of weight program."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez wanted Jones to rest on Monday so that he would be ready for the first two games of this week's series against the Phillies. But because his knee was feeling fine, Jones played the entirety of Monday's loss to the Pirates.
After playing two consecutive days, Jones was not able to play in Tuesday's series opener against the Phillies. But he returned on Wednesday to face Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay.
Fortunately, Jones' knee cooperated long enough for him to hit a walk-off homer that gave the Braves a dramatic 15-13, 11-inning win over the Phillies on Wednesday night.
"When I woke up today, no joint pain," Jones said. "Yesterday when I woke up, I could barely walk. I don't know why that is, and I don't know what it is that I'm doing that is causing that, probably a lack of meniscus. But it's frustrating nonetheless."
Jones has been in the starting lineup for as many as three consecutive days just once since being activated from the disabled list on April 10. He has primarily needed at least one day of rest after playing on consecutive days. His primary discomfort has centered on the joint line near the bottom inside portion of his left knee.
"It's frustrating," Jones said. "I play two games, maybe three, and I have a bad day. I'm of the mindset to go out there and play every day. It's frustrating when we get something going, a little continuity on the offensive end and I can't stay in there, day in and day out."