CHICAGO -- After undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on July 9, Chipper Jones returned to the Braves' lineup 16 days later and suffered a right hamstring strain that limited his availability to pinch-hit appearances for nearly two more full weeks.
But since returning to the lineup on Aug. 6, Jones has seemingly found the fountain of youth. The 39-year-old third baseman has hit .407 with four homers, a .431 on-base percentage and a .685 slugging percentage in 15 games this month. During this span, he has improved his batting average from .258 to .281.
Jones' impressive play has come while he has had the chance to regularly rest, like he did when he was not in the lineup for Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Cubs. He has started 13 of the 19 games that the Braves have played dating back to his Aug. 6 return to the lineup.
"He's played a lot of significant games and there's a lot of innings in that body," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We need to be aware of that."
Jones hit the 449th homer of his career during Wednesday night's loss to the Cubs. There's a chance he could hit his 450th while playing this weekend in front of a Mets fan base with which he has developed a love-hate relationship with over the years.
Hanson heads to Atlanta for further evaluation
CHICAGO -- Hoping to relieve some of his recent frustration and gain more clarity regarding his ailing right shoulder, the Braves sent Tommy Hanson back to Atlanta on Thursday to allow their doctors to further evaluate him.
"He's frustrated and he wants to pitch," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But he says it doesn't feel right."
Hanson limited Tuesday's bullpen session to just nine pitches and then revealed that he was simply trying to get a feel for throwing off a mound again. He planned to throw a longer bullpen session on Wednesday, but opted not to even try because he was still feeling soreness.
This marks the second time this year that Hanson has been on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. Two previous MRI exams have revealed no structural damage.
"Talking to [the team's head athletic trainer Jeff Porter], they think maybe he hasn't given it enough time and needs to get more rest," Gonzalez said.
Before Tuesday, Hanson had not thrown off a mound since Aug. 6, when he allowed seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Mets. The right-hander was subsequently placed on the DL on Aug. 7.
When Hanson was initially diagnosed with tendinitis two months ago, he missed just two weeks and felt tightness when he returned to start against the Mariners on June 26. The 24-year-old pitcher did not seem to be ailing when he combined to allow two runs in 14 innings over his next two starts.
But Hanson has posted an 8.10 ERA and allowed opponents a .370 on-base percentage in his five starts since the All-Star break.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Braves had not been informed of any change to Sunday's scheduled game against the Mets. With Hurricane Irene making its way up the East Coast, heavy rainfall is expected in New York late Saturday and throughout Sunday. The Braves and Mets share a common off-day on Sept. 8, and the Braves are scheduled to conclude a three-game series against the Phillies the previous day.
Jose Constanza returned to the Braves' lineup for Thursday's series finale against the Cubs. The speedy outfielder was out of the lineup the previous two days because of a minor right ankle sprain that he suffered in the sixth inning of Monday night's series-opening win.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.