05/19/12 6:00 PM ET
Florida natives enjoying trip home
By Chris Girandola / MLB.com
Chipper Jones, who was born in Deland and was the 1990 Florida High School Player of the Year at Bolles High School in Jacksonville, still planned to have a busload of "about 100 people" come to the game on Saturday despite suffering a left calf bruise in Friday night's 5-3 win.
"Yeah, they'll still be here," said Jones, who is on the board of directors of the athletic department at Stetson University.
Matt Diaz, who was drafted in 1999 by Tampa Bay when the team was known as the Devil Rays, graduated from Santa Fe Catholic High School in Lakeland and still lives in the central Florida town with his wife, Leslee, and their two sons.
Diaz said he will have 18 tickets available for family members and friends on Saturday and Sunday. His father, Ed, and his wife's brother, Drew Bennett, are both pastors and "may be late because they have to do a little of God's work [on Sunday] at church."
Diaz expects to have one of his three brothers attend the games. Zach, who is the oldest, lives in Lakeland and will make the trip.
Ben is in a seminary in Dallas and the youngest brother, Jonny, who is a chart-topping Christian musician, is busy on tour performing. Jonny's recent single, "More Beautiful You," spent several weeks in the Top 40 of the American Christian music charts.
All four Diaz brothers received scholarships to play baseball in college. Matt Diaz went to Florida State University, where he met his wife at a nightclub.
"God works in mysterious ways, because we're both Christian people and we ended up finding each other in a place where there was a whole lot of wrong going on," Diaz said.
Fellow Florida natives Tyler Pastornicky, David Ross and Jonny Venters also planned to have several family members and hometown friends visit.
Pastornicky grew up in Bradenton, which is about a 20-minute ride from Tropicana Field. The 22-year-old shortstop, who was in the starting lineup on Saturday, expected to have several friends make the trip.
Ross resides in Tallahassee with his wife, Hyla, and daughter and son. Ross, who graduated from Florida High School and then attended Auburn University before transferring to Florida as a junior, said he would be leaving 17 tickets for friends and family.
Venters went to high school in Orlando and attended Indian River Community College before being selected by the Braves in the 30th round of the 2003 Draft. He said he will have old friends from Lake Brantley High School visit on Saturday and his sister, who still lives in Orlando, will visit on Sunday.
Gonzalez: Chipper might play on Monday
ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Chipper Jones would rest another day and probably miss Sunday's contest against the Rays, as well.
Jones left Friday's 5-3 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field with a left calf bruise after being hit by a ball off the bat of B.J. Upton in the third inning. Jones stayed in the game and went hitless in two subsequent at-bats -- a popout in the fourth and a soft groundout -- after he had singled in the second inning.
Gonzalez said Jones' injury did not require an X-ray or MRI. The skipper also said Jones might be able to play on Monday when the Braves begin a four-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati.
Jones attempted to field the hard hit one-hopper by Upton by quickly dropping to his right knee. But the ball skipped by his glove and ricocheted off his left calf. Upton reached base for a single.
"If you're standing 85 feet from home plate and somebody hits a rocket at you, you better get a glove on it," Jones said.
Jones stayed down on the ground for about two minutes while Braves head trainer Jeff Porter examined him.
Jones talked with Porter and Gonzalez for a brief moment before nodding his head to say he was fine to continue playing.
The bruise stretched about five inches in diameter and was centered between the inside of his left calf and the top of the ankle. Jones said he did not feel it was necessary to be examined with an X-ray or MRI.
"It's fine," said Jones, who missed the first four games of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee suffered on March 26. "I'd know if I needed one. I would be able to tell if it was broken. You can tell it's localized. It's just a really, really bad bruise."
Jones decided to come out of the game after realizing he wasn't going to be of much use on the defensive end of things.
"I stayed on it, I mean, if I sat down it was going to stiffen up," Jones said. "Finally there in about the seventh, I couldn't move on defense. I told skipper, better get somebody in there that can move."
Following the seventh inning, Juan Francisco replaced Jones in the lineup as a pinch-hitter and then took Jones' spot in the field.
Francisco made the start at third in Saturday's contest, as well.
Prado, Heyward get first exposure to AstroTurf
ST. PETERSBURG -- Martin Prado played on artificial turf for the first time in his Major League career on Friday at Tropicana Field. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Prado had appeared in the second-most Major League games (564) among active players who had never played in a game on artificial turf, behind the Pirates' Nate McLouth (761).
Prado, who started in left field, didn't seem to mind the indoor confines of the stadium affectionately known to the locals as the Trop, going 2-for-4 with a double and a home run to extend his season-high hitting streak to 10 games.
Jason Heyward also made his first start on turf in his 308th big league game and his 277th start as a Major Leaguer. While Heyward made several impressive defensive plays on the grass-like AstroTurf in Friday's contest and again on Saturday, the 22-year-old right-fielder wasn't too fond of the material.
"It just starts digging away at your knees and your back," Heyward said. "I haven't had to make a diving play yet, but I kept on thinking to myself how rough it's got to be sliding for a catch."
Heyward wore a long-sleeve shirt underneath his jersey on Friday and Saturday.
The Rays had the new turf installed before the 2011 campaign to replace the FieldTurf as a part of AstroTurf's sponsorship arrangement with Major League Baseball. The turf features a horseshoe-shaped polymer fiber that the company promotes as a "grass-like, uniform, predictable" surface, leaving fewer rug burns when fielders slide or dive.
"It's still turf, not grass," Heyward said.
Chris Girandola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.