Chipper makes speedy return to lineup

Chipper makes speedy return to lineup

NEW YORK -- When Chipper Jones awoke Sunday morning, he took a few dry swings in his hotel room and then called Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton to tell him that he would be available to start Sunday night's series finale against the Mets.

"It's important for me to be in there," said Jones, acknowledging that his decision to make a quick return to the lineup was influenced by the fact that the Braves had suffered a fourth straight loss after he exited Saturday afternoon's game with a sore right hip.

Jones went hitless in two at-bats and committed a first-inning throwing error that led to the only run the Mets needed in their 1-0, rain-shortened, six-inning win over the Braves on Sunday. But the veteran third baseman said that his hip did not provide him any problems.

When Jones left Citi Field on Saturday afternoon, he thought he would miss at least a few games because of this hip discomfort that the Braves believe was caused by a ruptured bursa sac. But with the Mets starting right-hander Mike Pelfrey in the finale of this three-game series, the switch-hitting third baseman felt confident about his ability to hit from the left-handed side.

"The action of pushing off is what aggravated it yesterday," Jones said. "I don't do that left-handed. I just have to get my foot down and pivot from the left-handed side. So the left-handed swing should offer a minimal amount of pain. When it's going to come in play is if they turn me around."

Celebrating his 38th birthday on Saturday, Jones was forced to exit in the third inning after striking out for the second time against left-hander Jonathan Niese. He initially felt some discomfort on Friday night and then felt what he described as a "pop" when he took his first swing during Saturday's game.