The scientists who need to study George Lombard to see how he can break bones by sneezing or putting on his socks need to turn to Chipper Jones next. Chipper doesn’t get hurt easily, but when he does, he heals quickly. After fouling a ball off his leg, and having to be on crutches, in Wednesday’s game, Chipper came back after only one game off and had three hits. He does this all the time. He’ll have some injury, we think he’s going to be out for a month, he’s back the next day. Amazing, really.
The Braves lost the previous game, 4-3, when John Smoltz couldn’t hold a one-run lead and Vinny Castilla grounded out with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth. Chipper couldn’t play that one, but he did pinch-hit (and just missed a grand slam homer with two out the previous inning). The Braves lineup that game was terrifying, even by Braves standards. Andruw Jones was literally the only good player in the batting order; Rafael Furcal was the only other one who could even be considered average.
The rest were Javy Lopez, whose slowness on the basepaths is only exceeded by the slowness of his bat; Vinny Castilla, who a year ago was cut by the Devil Rays, for good reason; Darren Bragg, who was cut by both New York teams last year, for good reason; Wes Helms, a marginal third baseman, playing left field; Julio Franco, who remembers the Johnson Administration; and Keith Lockhart, who is Keith Lockhart.
The Braves now play three in Cincinnati, starting today. The Mets were idle yesterday after catching the Braves on Wednesday, and are a half game out; the Expos, despite losing three of four, have moved to third, 2 1/2 out, a half game ahead of the reeling Marlins. The Phillies are seven out and in deep trouble.