Notes: Chipper out with thumb injuries
Third baseman likely to miss a few games
ATLANTA -- It took nearly six full weeks for an injury to keep Chipper Jones from playing. But fortunately for the Braves, it appears their veteran third baseman's bruised and battered body should be healthy enough for him to return to the lineup in a few days.
After enduring an ugly collision with Pirates third baseman Jose Bautista during the fourth inning of Friday night's victory at PNC Park, Jones felt that it would likely be his left quadriceps muscle that kept him from playing on Saturday night. But it turned out to be a pair of bruised thumbs.
"I could play with my quad," Jones said. "I can't grip a bat. I've got no grip strength at all."
Jones, who had been battling a sore right wrist for a few weeks, will almost definitely miss Sunday's series finale. There's obviously a chance he could also miss the first couple games of the upcoming four-game set against the Nationals at RFK Stadium.
But for now, Jones, who played the remainder of Friday night's game, and Braves manager Bobby Cox are thinking the bruised thumbs will only keep him out of the lineup for a few days.
"Knowing Chipper, it will be sooner [rather] than later," said Cox of his veteran third baseman, who is hitting .303 with 10 homers and a .636 slugging percentage.
While not playing in more than 110 games during either of the past two seasons, Jones was beginning to earn the undesirable label of being an injury-prone player. Thus he entered this season hoping to play in at least 150 games. Until Friday's unavoidable collision, he had been out of the lineup just once this season, and that day off was provided just to give him some rest .
As he sprinted toward third base on a double steal, Jones had no time to avoid Bautista, who had just fielded a sharp Jeff Francoeur grounder. While attempting to leap over Bautista, his left quad hit the Pirates third baseman's left shoulder.
This caused Jones to tumble and break his fall with his hands. His left wrist bore the majority of his weight when he hit the ground.
There were some who wondered why Jones wasn't called out for interference on the play. A runner must give the fielder a chance to field the ball. The fact that Bautista had already gained control of the grounder prevented interference from coming into play.
Add another Cormier: The Braves still aren't sure when Lance Cormier will be able to come off the disabled list and possibly help the Atlanta starting rotation. But they know that veteran left-handed reliever Rheal Cormier will be in Triple-A Richmond's bullpen beginning Monday.
Cormier, who was designated for assignment by the Reds on April 28, signed a Minor League contract with the Braves on Saturday. The 40-year-old southpaw made six appearances for the Reds, allowing three earned runs and four hits in three innings.
In 48 innings for the Reds and Phillies last year, he surrendered 48 hits, including five home runs.
After designating Steve Colyer for assignment earlier this week, the Braves found themselves with Mike Gonzalez being their only left-handed reliever. Macay McBride has positioned himself for a return to Atlanta. Three of the five walks he's issued in his past 17 innings came in one game.
All smiles for Gonzo: As he was preparing to exit the bullpen to pitch the bottom of the ninth on Friday night, Mike Gonzalez was showered with appreciation from the Pittsburgh faithful that saw him convert each of his 24 save opportunities for the Pirates last year.
"I showed you with the first hitter what my emotions were all about," said Gonzalez, who, in January, was traded to the Braves in exchange for Adam LaRoche.
After getting LaRoche to ground into a double play, Gonzalez notched the save with a strikeout of his good friend Ronny Paulino.
As Paulino walked toward the plate, he playfully told Gonzalez to tuck his gold chain into his jersey. This prompted the Braves left-handed reliever to think about plunking his former Pirate battery mate. But fear of ejection prevented him from doing so.
"I was thinking about buzzing his tower or something for being a punk," Gonzalez said. "But I had fun with it. It was all good. I knew he wasn't going to get a hit off me anyhow."
Braves bits: With Jones out of the lineup, Pete Orr played third base and Edgar Renteria moved into the third spot of the batting order. ... Tim Hudson's left wrist was more swollen on Saturday than it had been on Friday. But the veteran hurler, who was hit with a comebacker on Thursday, still believes he will make Tuesday's scheduled start against the Nationals. ... Renteria says he lost four pounds due to the flu bug that sidelined him for three of the four games the Braves played against the Padres earlier this week.
Coming up: The Braves will conclude their three-game series against the Pirates on Sunday afternoon at 1:35 p.m. ET. They'll send Anthony Lerew (0-0, 3.00) to the mound to face Ian Snell (2-2, 2.35).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.