ATLANTA -- After limping around for a week with an extremely ugly bruised left calf, Chipper Jones found some relief on Saturday when blood was drained from his leg. The minor surgical procedure was completed after the Braves placed him on the disabled list on Friday night.
"The doc said if I didn't go ahead and get it taken out, then it would have been Labor Day before [the blood] would have gotten out of there," Jones said. "I would have been able to play before then. But if I would have fouled a ball off that same spot, it was going to be bad."
Jones is hopeful that he will be ready to play when he is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 8. The 40-year-old third baseman sustained the bruise on May 19 when Rays outfielder B.J. Upton's sharp liner skipped off the Tropicana Field turf and struck his leg.
"I think I should be if not ready, fairly close," Jones said. "We'll just have to wait to see."
When Jones talked to reporters on Friday afternoon, he was in obvious pain. But he had pinch-hit two nights earlier and was hoping he might be able to return to full-time action early next week. That plan was altered a few hours later when backup catcher David Ross suffered a slight right groin strain.
With starting catcher Brian McCann battling a virus and Freddie Freeman dealing with vision problems that still existed Sunday night, the Braves could not afford to continue playing with a short bench and little certainty about when Jones would be ready to play.
"I feel so much better now than I did [before Saturday]," Jones said. "It was throbbing. It let me know with everything that I did. Now, we've relieved a lot of the pressure down there. I can't feel my heartbeat down there anymore."
The Braves have gone 19-5 with Jones in the lineup this year and 7-17 when he has not started. While these numbers have been influenced by the recent absences of McCann and Freeman, the veteran third baseman hopes some of his teammates begin to pick up the slack while he nears the completion of his final season.
"It's frustrating to watch," Jones said. "Somebody has got to step up. They've got 162 games to look forward to next year. Somebody has got to get the big out, get the big hit, make the big play, all of those things you have to do on a daily basis to win ballgames."