Originally created 07/06/06

Chipper returns to lineup, still feels off on right foot



ATLANTA - Chipper Jones has had, currently has and will always have bad feet. Family history and the annual grind of a baseball season have dictated that much.

But the current soreness he's experiencing in his right foot isn't enough to keep him sidelined, Jones decided Wednesday after consulting with a local specialist, Dr. John Gleason.

Gleason found inflammation below Jones' second toe, near the ball of the foot, but no tear of the plantar plate, as was originally diagnosed.

A tear in the same area - but in the opposite foot - was what kept Jones out of the lineup last year for more than six weeks, much of which was spent in a protective boot.

As Jones suspected since the right foot had felt better in recent days, this is a less severe injury.

"It is uncomfortable, but I feel like I can play with it," said Jones, who was in the lineup Wednesday against St. Louis, playing third and hitting third. "I'm going to play as long as I can wake up in the morning and do my thing."

Jones said if a setback does occur, he'll take a few days off, likely through the All-Star break, and receive anti-inflammatory treatment.

The Braves are hopeful he'll be in the lineup every day - especially with the way he's been hitting.

Despite the fact that the foot's been bothering him since last week's series at Yankee Stadium, Jones was named the National League's Player of the Week on Wednesday.

Hitting safely in each of the six games he played in, Jones went 12-for-24 with three doubles, three homers and eight RBI.

The foot kept him out of the lineup Sunday against Baltimore, but he came on to hammer a three-run home run in the eighth, his first-ever pinch-hit homer.

"He was really ripping the ball," manager Bobby Cox said. "He'd really started coming on."

Jones had an eight-game hitting streak entering Wednesday. He walked in his first plate appearance against St. Louis' Jeff Suppan.

CLOSED DOWN: Chris Reitsma's rotten season is officially done. The reliever will have season-ending surgery within the month, head trainer Jeff Porter said Wednesday. What type is what's in question.

He'll see Dr. James Andrews on July 17 in Birmingham, Ala., to determine whether he needs elbow ligament replacement surgery or a nerve transposition procedure to correct the ulnar neuritis in his right arm.

Transposition surgery and subsequent rehab would have Reitsma back by spring training. Ligament replacement surgery would keep Reitsma out probably twice as long, a year or longer.

The right-hander, who began the year as the team's closer, went 1-2 with an 8.68 ERA in 27 appearances.

MEMORY LANE: Late as it seemed after a two-hour, 52-minute rain delay, Tuesday's game ended some three hours earlier than the 19-inning marathon in 1985 at Fulton County Stadium against the New York Mets.

Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell, then a Mets rookie, pitched in the third inning of the game, which was twice delayed by rain. That left 16 innings to thumb-twiddle.

"I ate and drank," McDowell said, alluding to the wild nature of the mid-'80s Mets. "What I did then was different than what I did (Tuesday) night."

ON DECK: Atlanta begins a four-game series tonight against Cincinnati, with right-hander Tim Hudson (6-8, 4.57 ERA) going against Reds right-hander Joe Mays (0-1, 5.50).

Hudson has lost four consecutive starts in which he's allowed five earned runs three times and four once. The losses were all against American League opponents.

Contact R. Travis Haney at travis.haney@morris.com.



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