CINCINNATI — Braves third baseman Chipper Jones was out for the third straight game Monday because of a bruised left calf, saying he's a day or two away from being able to play.
He really wants to be back on the field sometime during a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds, who are honoring him in his final season. They've put a tribute on the sides of the bases for the series.
Before the closing game of the series on Thursday, they'll honor Jones on the field and present him with one of the bases.
"Very cool," Jones said Monday before the series opener. "And it's unique. It's something I never would have thought of, but it's awfully nice and very classy of the Cincinnati Reds organization to do that.
"I look forward to getting out there and hopefully looking at the bases, hopefully rounding it once or twice. But we'll see."
The 40-year-old Atlanta star has announced he'll retire after the season. The Tampa Bay Rays honored him on Sunday with a video tribute. Jones left the dugout and tipped his cap to the fans, who gave a standing ovation.
"I really don't know how to react to what's going on," Jones said. "It's hard for me to put into words. Obviously most places I've gone during the course of my career, I've gotten booed. I've heard a lot of hate and all that kind of stuff. Yesterday (in Florida) I step out of the dugout and see everyone is standing and clapping — it's a real shock, but much appreciated."
Jones hasn't played since Friday night, when he was hit on the leg by B.J. Upton's hard-hop grounder. He said on Monday that he's still got a welt the size of a golf ball where the ball hit his leg. He had the ankle and lower calf wrapped.
"If I were to foul a ball off of that right now, you might as well just dig a hole and bury me right there at home plate because I'm not getting up," he said. "It's still really painful and my range of motion is not good enough to be able to go out there and play defense or run the bases and all that kind of stuff. I'm hopeful the last game or two of the series I'll be able to get in there."