Notes: Chipper to miss a few games
Cortisone shot to sideline third baseman till at least Saturday
ATLANTA -- Entering the season, there was reason to be concerned about Chipper Jones' feet. But now it appears that his right thumb might prove to be his lingering problem.
Multiple times over the course of the past seven days, Jones has aggravated the bruised palms that he suffered as a result of the hard tumble he took following a May 11 collision with Pirates third baseman Jose Bautista. But when he swung and missed on a Joe Smith delivery in the eighth inning of Wednesday night's game against the Mets, he knew it was time for another evaluation.
"I came in [to the doctor] last night and said, 'This needs rest,'" said Jones, who missed Thursday night's series finale against the Mets. "It's not getting any better. If anything, it's getting worse."
While both hands have continued to provide some discomfort, it's his unprotected right throwing hand that has proven to be more bothersome. X-rays taken Wednesday night showed some inflammation where Jones' thumb meets his still swollen and discolored right palm. That led Braves doctors to prescribe a painful cortisone shot that will keep him out of action until at least Saturday afternoon's game against the Phillies.
"It just keeps getting worse," Jones said. "Every time I dive, that's my brace hand. An awkward swing bugs it, like the last swing on my strikeout last night. I suggested rest, and [the doctor] suggested a needle with some rest."
Jones, whose multiple foot and leg problems prevented him from appearing in more than 110 games either of the past two seasons, stayed injury-free through the season's first six weeks. Before the collision, he hadn't missed a game with a health-related issue.
When Jones initially bruised his palms, he missed four games. In the seven games that followed, he went 8-for-28 with two homers. But while he was going 1-for-4 against the Mets on Wednesday, Braves manager Bobby Cox could tell that his third baseman was definitely battling discomfort.
"Those things don't heal at all," Cox said. "It's like getting jammed with a pitch. I [bruised a thumb] back in 1960 and I can still feel it."
Because Jones, who is a switch-hitter, holds the knob of the bat in the palm of his hands, he can only hope that a few more days of rest combined with the cortisone prevents this injury from being a lingering problem.
Cormier nearing return: Lance Cormier surrendered four hits and registered five strikeouts while completing five scoreless innings for Double-A Mississippi in a rehab assignment on Wednesday night. More importantly, the strained right triceps muscle that has sidelined him since the beginning of the season didn't prove to be a problem.
"Everybody that we talked to said he threw really good breaking balls and zippy fastballs," Cox said.
Cormier's final rehab assignment could come on Monday when he starts for Triple-A Richmond in Rochester, N.Y. He's scheduled to go six innings and if all goes well, there's a chance he'll come off the disabled list.
The way the Atlanta rotation currently sets up, Cormier wouldn't be needed in the Majors until June 5. But by giving him a normal four days of rest, there's a chance he could be activated as soon as June 2.
Still no word on Gonzo: As of late Thursday afternoon, Cox said he still hadn't heard the results of Mike Gonzalez's latest MRI. It was one that was necessitated when Braves physicians determined that last week's contrast MRI didn't allow them to clearly see all that they wanted to see around his left elbow.
Gonzalez's first MRI taken on April 19 didn't show any structural damage. He had another one taken last week after he experienced a sudden drop in his velocity.
Devine rounding into form: When Buddy Carlyle is promoted to start Saturday afternoon's game against the Phillies, Joey Devine will likely be sent back to Mississippi. Devine had just been promoted to Atlanta on Tuesday to assume the roster spot that was vacated when Mark Redman was given his unconditional release.
But this doesn't bother Devine, who had envisioned staying in the Minors throughout this year in hopes of gaining the form the Braves had envisioned when they took him with their top selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
Devine battled a hip flexor after he came to the Majors in August 2005 and was limited by a lower back injury all of last year. But while posting a 1.61 ERA and limiting opponents to a .187 batting average in 20 appearances with Mississippi, he's quieted his delivery in hopes of preventing further injuries and finding more consistency with his location.
"The biggest thing is I don't have to be so violent with the lower half [of my body]," Devine said. "I don't need to be so forceful toward home plate."
Coming up: The Braves will begin a three-game series against the Phillies on Friday night at 7:35 p.m. ET. They'll send Tim Hudson (5-2, 2.42) to the mound to face Jamie Moyer (4-3, 4.37).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.