Notes: Cox cautious with Chipper
Manager not going to rush slugger back from oblique injury
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Having not felt any sort of discomfort in his right side since Monday, Chipper Jones was fully expecting to travel to Viera to play in Wednesday night's game against the Nationals.
But after arriving at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on Wednesday afternoon, Jones was reminded of the precautionary approach that Braves manager Bobby Cox usually takes with players coming back from injuries.
"I was clearly ready to play today," said Jones, whose sore right oblique muscle has kept him from playing since Friday. "I came to the park ready to go on the trip and they won't let me. You know how Bobby is, it's always, 'One more day.'"
When asked Wednesday if Jones would play in Thursday afternoon's game against the Mets, Cox simply provided, "We'll see how it goes tomorrow."
Even if Jones doesn't play on Thursday, it's obvious that he and the Braves still aren't concerned about the sore right oblique muscle that flared up a week ago. After hitting a homer in his final at-bat of the game against the Yankees on Thursday, Jones didn't feel any discomfort. But there was some minimal discomfort a few hours later, when he went to bed. When the soreness persisted during batting practice the next day, he and the Braves' medical staff knew it would be wise to rest for a few days.
"Instead of making it worse, we just figured take a couple of days off, treat it and see if it got better real quick," Jones said. "I don't feel it at all now."
Jones understands the lingering effects an oblique strain can provide. Two of his three trips to the disabled list last year came after the All-Star break and both of those stints were caused by a left oblique strain.
"I've had some [oblique strains] where I've felt nothing and taken a hard swing that just takes the breath out of me," Jones said. "Then I've had a couple where I've just mildly hurt the muscle and continued to play until I got to the point where I couldn't swing or even turn over in bed."
Having not played in more than 110 games either of the past two seasons, Jones has set his sights on playing in at least 150 games this season.
Although he didn't play in Wednesday night's game, Jones did stay back at Disney to participate in the team's afternoon workout. The veteran third baseman showed no signs of discomfort while throwing across the infield or while swinging during batting practice.
While holding the Nationals to two earned runs and eight hits in five innings on Wednesday, Redman provided the type of performance the Braves envision him producing during the regular season.
"I thought he looked good, a lot of ground balls," said Cox of Redman, who registered eight ground-ball outs.
Though seldom dominant, the veteran left-hander has always proven capable of being an innings-eater who gives his team consistent chances to win.
"I didn't feel like I hit a wall this time," said Redman, who threw 50 of his 88 pitches for strikes. "I felt strong. I pitched out of some early jams and felt really good."
Having been unemployed during the first three weeks of camp, it's encouraging for the Braves to see Redman already build his endurance to a seemingly acceptable point. Three of the hits, including a Felipe Lopez solo homer, he surrendered came in the fifth inning. But more than fatigue, that was a result of him falling behind while working on his curveball.
Through his first 12 Grapefruit League innings, Redman has allowed six earned runs, surrendered 16 hits, registered eight strikeouts and issued four walks.
Rough night for Johnson: When it was learned that a bad case of the flu would prevent Blaine Boyer from pitching on Wednesday, Jonathan Johnson volunteered his services. Unfortunately it was an outing that Johnson would like to soon forget.
With the Braves holding a 5-3 ninth-inning lead, Johnson entered and allowed three earned runs and five hits in just two-thirds of an inning. He ended the game by issuing a bases-loaded walk.
Johnson, who came out of retirement to pitch for Triple-A Richmond last year, has said that he'll retire again if he doesn't make Atlanta's Opening Day roster. The fact that the 32-year-old right-hander has allowed three earned runs or more in three of his past four outings has pretty much erased any opportunity for him to begin this season in the big leagues.
Baby Thorman on the way: Cox will likely keep Scott Thorman out of the next two games. Thorman's pregnant wife will experience an induced labor on Thursday morning at a hospital near Disney. The couple is planning to name the child Robert Thomas, in memory of Scott's father who passed away in 1994.
After a slow start, Thorman has shown some recent offensive progress. With eight hits in his past 24 at-bats, he's raised his batting average to .265 (13-for-49).
AJ following CJ's lead: Currently hanging in Andruw Jones' locker is a batting practice jersey that has "Dos Cinco" above his jersey number 25.
When asked what it was, the Gold Glove center fielder said, "It's just like Chad Johnson."
Like Johnson, the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver who playfully put "Ocho Cinco" on his No. 85 jersey for warmups, Jones will likely not be permitted to wear it.
Jones is hoping to wear it during batting practice, but as Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton put it, "There's no way Bobby [Cox] will let him do that."
Familiar faces: When they arrived for Wednesday's game, the Braves had a chance to reunite with a couple of old friends that ended their Atlanta tenures last year.
Pat Corrales, who celebrated his 66th birthday on Wednesday, is now serving as the Nationals' bench coach, the same role he held during the final eight years of his 14-year tenure on Atlanta's coaching staff.
As for former Braves announcer Don Sutton, he's now serving as television announcer for the Nationals. Since ending his tenure with the Braves, Sutton says he and his family have been grateful for the kind responses he's received from the Atlanta fans.
Sutton, who is still attempting to sell his Alpharetta, Ga., home, has kept his season tickets for Braves games. As for his 9-year-old daughter, Jacqueline, she plans to still wear her Jeff Francoeur jersey whenever she returns to Turner Field.
Up next: The Braves will play the Mets on Thursday afternoon at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. Atlanta will send Kyle Davies to the mound to face Aaron Sele. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.