Chipper Jones to miss start of his final season

Will undergo surgery to repair torn meniscus in left knee and miss first six games

Saturday, March 24, 2012 1:18 PM
Last updated 10:37 PM
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DUNEDIN, Fla. — Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones will miss the start of his farewell season.

Jones  AP

Two days after Jones announced this will be his final year, Braves general manager Frank Wren said Saturday that Jones will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair torn meniscus in his left knee.

The procedure is scheduled to be performed Monday. The 39-year-old Jones will open the season on the disabled list, but the team expects him to miss only the first six games. Wren said Jones should return in time for the April 13 home opener.

Martin Prado, normally the team’s starting left fielder, will move to the infield until Jones returns. Wren said he’s not looking to make a trade for help at third base or in the outfield.

Jones missed two weeks last season after having arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. This is just the latest in a string of injuries that persuaded him to retire after one more season. He turns 40 next month.

With Prado starting the season at third, the Braves could turn to Matt Diaz or Eric Hinske in left field. Jones’ injury also could create an opportunity for Jose Constanza or Jordan Parraz.

Jones, who has spent his entire 18-year career with Atlanta, actually planned to retire after the 2010 season, only to change his mind. As he battled leg issues this spring, he openly wondered if he’d be able to make it through the season.

“I have fulfilled everything,” Jones said Thursday during a news conference at the team’s spring training stadium in Kissimmee, flanked by his family and teammates. “There’s nothing left for me to do.”

Jones won the NL MVP award in 1999, captured the league batting title in 2008 and is a seven-time All-Star. No matter what happens in his final season, he will go down as one of the game’s greatest switch-hitters, a player who could hit for average (.304 in his career) and power (454 homers and 1,561 RBIs).

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Riverman1 03/24/12 - 05:25 pm
I'll never forget walking up

I'll never forget walking up with my young son to Chipper and Todd Van Poppel who were on opposing minor league teams talking in the dark and without anyone around after a game beside Lake Olmstead waiting to get on their busses. Both of them were such nice guys. My son wanted Todd's autograph first and that made both of them laugh. Man, what a regular guy from north Florida who made good. He's one of us who represented all the kids who had dreams of the major leagues.

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