Chipper headed to DL with bruised leg

Chipper headed to DL with bruised leg

ATLANTA -- Hours after saying he hoped Chipper Jones could return to action this weekend, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez announced the veteran third baseman would be going on the disabled list.

Gonzalez made the announcement after seeing his backup catcher David Ross suffer a groin strain during Friday night's 7-4 loss to the Nationals. With Ross destined to miss at least a few days and Jones' badly bruised left calf not showing improvement, the Braves could not spend the next couple of days playing two men short on their bench.

"It's not getting better, and we're starting to play a little shorthanded," Gonzalez said. " It's not fair for him or the team. "

As Jones displayed a multicolored bruise that illuminated most of the lower portion of his left leg on Friday afternoon, he figured the possibility of him going on the disabled list had been erased when he pinch-hit in Wednesday's loss to the Reds.

The pinch-hit appearance, which resulted in a walk, prevented the Braves from making this disabled list transaction retroactive to May 19. That would have put the 40-year-old third baseman in line to be activated on June 3. Now with the transaction being made retroactive to Thursday, Jones will not be eligible for activation until June 8.

"It's going to be the whole 15 days, and maybe even a little longer than that," Gonzalez said while indicating he expects Jones will go on a Minor League rehab assignment before being activated.

The Braves have gone 19-5 with Jones in the starting lineup this year, and 7-16 without him. Friday night's series opener against the Nationals marked the seventh straight game in which he was not in the lineup.

Jones' optimism about his leg has decreased over the past couple of days as members of the team's medical staff have massaged the injured area in attempt to prevent all of the blood from resting around his ankle.

"Yesterday and today have been bad, just because they have been milking it [toward my knee]," Jones said before Friday's game. "They're trying to keep all the blood and fluid out of the ankle joint. When you do that, you get blood in the calf and the Achilles. It still makes range of motion pretty bad."

Jones was injured on May 18, when Rays outfielder B.J. Upton's sharp liner skipped off the Tropicana Field turf and struck his leg. The veteran third baseman wonders if the outcome would have been different had he not been playing on the unfamiliar turf surface that did not slow the ball as much as a grass surface would have.

"I've never been hit that hard," Jones said. "A bunch of people over the last weeks have said that's the nastiest. ... You feel bad missing games over a bruise. But that's not just a bruise. That's something that I have never seen before."