MIAMI -- Chipper Jones has heard and seen the claims that it's time for the Braves to move him out of the third spot in their lineup. While he would understand if manager Bobby Cox ultimately makes this decision, the veteran third baseman thinks the club is best suited to keep him and Jason Heyward batting alongside each other in some sort of order.
"Bobby knows that with me in the three-hole, you're going to get a good at-bat," Jones said. "Regardless of the outcome, you're going to get a good at-bat. I think that's why he has kept me there.
"I think Jason is just as well suited to hit in the three-hole as me, because, besides me, he's the guy who is going to throw up the next best at-bat. He's going to see a lot of pitches and be selective. I think one way or the other, no matter where we hit in the lineup, we need to be linked."
With this, Jones once again admitted that he was open to flip-flopping lineup spots with Heyward, who has spent the past couple of weeks batting second. After some initial hesitance, the 38-year-old veteran admitted there is also a chance that he could benefit from the protection that he could receive with Heyward hitting behind him in the cleanup spot.
Dating back to June 9, Jones has compiled the fifth-worst batting average in the Majors. At the same time, he has drawn the fourth-most walks. With this in mind, there is at least reason to wonder if he is seeing hittable pitches consistently enough to maximize what he can still provide with his bat.
"In the crucial situations, yeah, I'm not," Jones said. "If I had been more selective just in the last two weeks, I probably would have had five to eight more walks. There comes a point where you will expand the strike zone when you're not seeing the ball well. I'm in one of those spurts now."
Jones hit .295 and compiled a .436 on-base percentage in his first 13 games this season. But even with his two-hit performance during Thursday's 8-3 win over the Marlins, he has batted just .193 over the course of his past 28 games.
Still with three multihit games in his past seven starts, Jones seems to be benefiting from batting alongside Heyward, who drilled a first-inning triple on Thursday and scored when the veteran third baseman doubled off the left-center-field wall.
Cuban teammate Gomez rejoins Escobar
MIAMI -- Approximately four years after declining Yunel Escobar's request to join him on the boat that carried him out of Cuba, Yasser Gomez reunited with the Braves' shortstop and told him that he wished he had accompanied him on his journey into the United States.
Now Gomez is just hoping for the opportunity to play alongside his longtime friend at the Major League level. The Braves recently offered the 30-year-old Cuban outfielder a $20,000 signing bonus and will be able to officially welcome him into their organization if he is able to get the visa that allows him to exit the Dominican Republic and journey into the U.S.
"He was the best player on the Cuban team," Escobar said through a translator.
Gomez defected from Cuba in 2008, and he made his way out of Mexico into California. After spending some time in New York, he traveled to Miami to live with Escobar at his offseason residence. The two have been friends for about 20 years and spent some time playing together on the Cuban national team.
Because the Mexican government won't welcome Gomez into its country with a Cuban passport, the Braves nixed their plans to have him spend some time playing in Mexico. Instead, once he arrives in the United States, they will likely send him to play for either Double-A Mississippi or Triple-A Gwinnett.
Regarded as a sound defender and a dependable offensive threat who hasn't shown much power, Gomez made his debut with Cuba's national team at the age of 19 and spent the next summer as its starting center fielder in the 2000 Olympics. Some believe his removal from the national team in '02 was based on the fear that he would defect during an international tournament.
When asked to compare Gomez to a Major Leaguer, Escobar offered Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Gomez hit .311 with five doubles and one stolen base while playing 36 games in the Dominican Winter League this past winter.
Chipper sets Braves' all-time walks record
MIAMI -- Chipper Jones has long taken pride in his ability to judge the strike zone. Now the veteran third baseman has the ability to say that he has drawn more walks than anybody else who has worn a Braves uniform.
Jones drew his franchise-record 1,377th walk during the sixth inning of Thursday night's 8-3 win over the Marlins and then added to the total in the eighth inning. The record was previously held by Hall of Fame third baseman Eddie Mathews, who played 17 seasons for the Braves from 1952-66.
"That's the kind of respect you get," said Braves manager Bobby Cox in reference to Jones, who owns a .306 career batting average.
Jones drew his first career walk off Expos right-handed reliever Brian Barnes on Sept. 21, 1993. The 38-year-old third baseman drew a career-high 126 walks on the way to being named the 1999 National League MVP.
Despite the fact that Jones has hit just .227 this season, opposing pitchers still approach him with caution. The 33 walks he had drawn entering Thursday ranked fourth in the Majors.
McCann expects to return to lineup on Friday
MIAMI -- Brian McCann seems optimistic about the odds of returning to the Braves' lineup for Friday night's series opener against the Pirates. But at the same time, he understands the need to be cautious with the strained right quadriceps muscle that he strained during Wednesday's game against the Marlins.
"Your hamstrings and your quads, you can't really mess with them, because they can linger for a long time," said McCann, who was replaced in Thursday night's lineup by backup catcher David Ross.
McCann tweaked the quad muscle during Wednesday's fourth inning and remained in the game until being replaced by a pinch-hitter after delivering a seventh-inning RBI single.
The 26-year-old catcher noticed some improvement by the time he returned to the park on Thursday afternoon.
"I can feel it," McCann said. "I'm glad I caught it when I did. I'll definitely be ready to pinch-hit or catch late. I don't think it's going to be anything other than for today."
Braves to face decision on Resop soon
MIAMI -- If the Braves place Chris Resop on their Major League roster before June 15, the clause that allows him to demand a trade or become a free agent would be voided. But if they later opt to send him to the Minors, the right-handed pitcher would have to pass through waivers, and if he goes unclaimed, he would still have the right to declare for free agency.
Resop would have this right because this would be the second time in his career that he would have been outrighted back to the Minor League level.
The Braves are expected to promote Resop to the Majors within the next week or two. Through his first 10 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett, the 27-year-old right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA -- the International League's second-best mark.
Resop, who has allowed two earned runs or less in nine of his 10 outings and limited opponents to a .203 batting average, could be brought to Atlanta to be utilized as a starter or a reliever.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.