05/24/12 7:06 PM ET
Venters OK after taking line drive off leg
By Kevin Goheen / Special to MLB.com
"It's not too bad at all," Venters said. "Apparently I've got to hit it off of me or the other team to get anybody out. But I feel fine."
Venters was the pitcher on Sunday against Tampa Bay when Carlos Pena of the Rays was hit by a batted ball and called out to end a Tampa Bay threat.
On Wednesday night, Venters was struck in the calf by a line drive off the bat of Reds first baseman Joey Votto in the eighth inning. Venters recovered in time to find the ball and throw Votto out at first. Manager Fredi Gonzalez and trainer Jeff Porter came out to check on Venters, who remained in the game and delivered an intentional walk to Brandon Phillips.
Eric O'Flaherty replaced Venters and got Jay Bruce to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Venters has eight holds on the season, but has had trouble with his command, allowing nine of the 18 first batters he has faced to reach base. He's allowed 20 hits, hit four batters and walked seven in just 15 1/3 innings this season.
Venters spent pregame Thursday looking at video comparisons of himself from last season and this season in an attempt to find any issues.
"I'm having a hard time getting the ball to sink, it's staying up in the zone," Venters said. "My mechanics feel great but the ball's not sinking enough so I've got to try to find something. I must be doing something different."
Chipper sits again as leg bruise worsens
CINCINNATI -- Third baseman Chipper Jones said before Thursday's game against the Reds that his left calf and ankle area feels worse than it did Wednesday when he pinch-hit in the seventh inning of a 2-1 loss.
Jones had the bruised area "milked" in an effort to get some fluid out but it caused some stiffness.
"I'm probably worse off today than yesterday," said Jones, who did not start on Thursday against the Reds. "It's bad timing, too, [with] the first matchup with the Nationals coming up. This is a first for me."
The Braves return home to begin a three-game series against Washington at Turner Field on Friday. The Nationals, who were idle, led the Braves by a half-game in the National League East heading into play on Thursday.
Jones suffered the injury last Friday at Tampa Bay when a sharply hit ground ball by B.J. Upton struck him in the leg. He walked on Wednesday night in his first plate appearance since the injury and was replaced by pinch-runner Tim Hudson.
The injured area is still discolored and Jones has little mobility. Jones said he thought he would miss three or four games, but he is now uncertain as to when he can get back into the regular lineup.
The Braves are 19-5 when Jones is in the starting lineup but just 7-14 when he sits.
"The trainers tell me the blood has to go someplace and it went up the calf," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think he'll be available to pinch-hit unless something from here until game time gets worse. Hopefully we'll get him into the lineup for one of those games at home this weekend."
McCann misses third straight game with flu
CINCINNATI -- The flu bug has hit the Braves hard, as catcher Brian McCann sat out a third straight game on Thursday.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said McCann's condition is worse than it had been the previous two days and that reserve Matt Diaz is also feeling the effects.
McCann went 0-for-3 in Monday's opener against the Reds, but has been replaced by David Ross in the lineup since.
"I think it's a full-blown flu going now with his temperature and aching feelings," Gonzalez said. "The last three days he's been curled up on a sofa or the training room. There's nothing you can do but let that thing take its course."
Hinske makes start for Freeman at first
CINCINNATI -- Eric Hinske got his third start of the season at first base on Thursday night, as Freddie Freeman continues to battle issues with his contact lenses.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Freeman had trouble picking up a throw from shortstop Tyler Pastornicky on Wednesday night.
"He flinched and couldn't catch it," said Gonzalez. "He came in after the game really frustrated. This was a ball right to the chest. It's like when somebody throws you a ball and it startles you but you catch it anyway. That's the way he caught it. After the game he said he couldn't see the ball and was having trouble."
The Braves have ordered special sports goggles for Freeman, but they have not yet been delivered. Freeman left a game on May 14 against Cincinnati with blurred vision in his right eye and missed one game before returning to the lineup.
Freeman is hitting just 4-of-25 (.160) through the first six games of Atlanta's seven-game road trip.
Reds honor Chipper before series finale
CINCINNATI -- The Reds honored Braves third baseman Chipper Jones before Thursday's series finale with a commemorative base and a video tribute to the Braves' future Hall of Famer.
The teams have played every game this four-game series with the commemorative bases, which feature Jones' name, his uniform No. 10 and logos of the Reds and Braves on the side.
Jones announced at the start of this season that it would be his last. He's collected 2,646 hits, including 459 home runs and 1,585 RBIs in his 19 seasons.
"A lot of guys have less home runs than that," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "This is in the steroid era. That counts for something in itself. He fits all of the criteria -- winning teams, MVP, batting champion. It's all the areas that the other guys in the Hall have basically, and some have less.
"He's a switch-hitter and a third baseman, that's probably the position that has the least amount of Hall of Famers in it."
Kevin Goheen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.