Originally created 09/19/06

Chipper says return is approaching



WASHINGTON - Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said with some level of confidence Monday that he expects to come off the disabled list and play tonight. His manager, though, didn't sound so sure.

"I really don't know," Bobby Cox said of Jones' left side, which still isn't fully healed. "He could still just tear it. He needs to come back, but maybe not (tonight).

"We're running out of games, but whenever he plays, he's not going to be 100 percent."

Jones has been out since he tweaked the oblique muscle Sept. 3 in Philadelphia. He originally injured the muscle in July.

Why even worry about 12 or so games?

"Because I want to play. I've missed a ton of games," said Jones, who's played in only 101 games this year, with foot and knee injuries resulting in additional trips to the DL for the 34-year-old. "This, it's more about pride than anything else. You just want to get back in there and end the year positively."

Getting to .500 or better is what he's alluding to. Entering Monday, the Braves needed to go 10-3 to finish 82-80 and give Cox his 16th consecutive winning season.

When Jones has been healthy, he's been good. He's hitting .318 with 23 home runs and 79 RBI.

Jones said, tongue-in-cheek, that he's considering going back to the regimen of his mid-20s.

"When I ate cheeseburgers four or five times a week, I never got hurt," he said. "When I started eating healthy and getting trainers, I started getting hurt."

SUNDAY AFTERMATH: Atlanta's five-run rally against Florida in the 10th inning Sunday was historical. Not at any point in franchise history had the Braves come back from a four-run deficit in extra innings. Florida became the first team since 1991 to hold a four-run lead in extras and lose.

Braves reliever Chad Paronto looked like the goat after he surrendered the four runs, including two on rookie Dan Uggla's 26th home run of the year. He turned out to be merely a footnote to Florida's collapse, which included five hits, all allowed by closer Joe Borowski; a pair of costly errors; and a couple of other miscues.

"I still gave up four runs, so I'm not going to feel good about it or anything," Paronto said. "I'm just glad we won."

CONDOLENCES FOR COACH: First base coach Glenn Hubbard, whose mother died in Utah during the weekend, left the team Sunday so he could be with his grieving family.

Cox said he expects Hubbard, the longtime Atlanta second baseman in the 1980s, to rejoin the team in Colorado later this week. In the meantime, hitting coach Terry Pendleton will man the first base coaching box.

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