Chipper remains on bench with sore groin
Francoeur starts in right field for third straight night over Diaz
DENVER -- Chipper Jones had hoped to return to the Braves' lineup for Thursday night's series opener against the Rockies. But the veteran third baseman's right groin is still bothering him when he attempts to put some power into his swing.
"As long as I'm just up there trying to hit singles, I'm fine," Jones said. "But when I'm up there trying to juice it, I'm still feeling it."
Jones tweaked his groin during the fourth inning of Monday night's win over the Cubs, and then missed the final two games of that three-game series at Wrigley Field. The 37-year-old third baseman doesn't seem overly concerned about the ailment, and indicated that he believes he could return to the lineup within the next day or two.
"If I can milk it through the final couple of games here in Colorado, I should be fine," Jones said. "Then having the [All-Star] break will probably do it some good."
Braves manager Bobby Cox said that he was hopeful of putting Jones back in his lineup for Friday night's game.
Despite the fact that Matt Diaz has been swinging a hot bat, Cox opted to give Jeff Francoeur a third consecutive start in right field on Thursday night.
"It's time to give Francoeur another shot at this thing," Cox said.
If playing the superstition card, the Braves are undefeated in the past seven games that Francoeur has started. But his offensive contributions are less than desirable, as Francoeur has recorded four hits and one RBI during the 24 at-bats he's registered during this span.
Meanwhile, the Braves lost each of the three games that Diaz started in right field over the last week.
But in the six games that he's started this month, Diaz has hit .522 with three doubles, one homer and five RBIs.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.