SAN FRANCISCO -- Chipper Jones' surgically repaired left knee hasn't provided him any problems for nearly two months. But the veteran third baseman's right knee bothered him enough Friday night that he told Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez that he might not be ready to play against Tim Lincecum and the Giants on Saturday afternoon.
"I've got some pain in the lower inside of my knee that is preventing me from pushing off and cutting and stuff like that," Jones said after Friday night's 4-1 win over the Giants. "It's just a really sharp pain. I don't know why it's doing it. But it's been doing it for the past 10 days or so. I don't know if it was the cold, but it was really pronounced tonight."
Jones played the entirety of Friday's game and delivered a key two-run, fourth-inning double. But he seemed to be feeling some pain as he talked to reporters after the victory.
Jones, who will turn 39 on Sunday, has four hits and four strikeouts in 17 career at-bats against Lincecum.
Braves call up Gearrin for depleted bullpen
SAN FRANCISCO -- When Cory Gearrin received a phone call from Triple-A Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage late Thursday evening, he knew his skipper wasn't calling to ask if he wanted to join him for dinner.
Fortunately for Gearrin, Brundage called to inform him that they won't be doing anything together over the next few days.
Needing to strengthen their fatigued and injury-depleted bullpen, the Braves promoted Gearrin and had him in uniform for Friday night's series opener against the Giants. To make room on their 25-man roster, they optioned outfielder Matt Young to Gwinnett.
"He's an arm who can help us get people out," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We'll use him."
This has been a tough week for the Braves' bullpen, which lost Peter Moylan (sore back) to the disabled list last week and was without Jonny Venters as he rested his sore left arm the past couple of days. In addition, Gonzalez was forced to use long reliever Cristhian Martinez for a third consecutive day during Thursday's 12-inning loss to the Dodgers.
Gearrin has posted a 2.61 ERA and worked 10 1/3 innings in six appearances for Gwinnett this year. He has limited left-handed hitters to a .167 (2-for-12) batting average. Right-handed hitters have hit .320 (8-for-25) against him. The 25-year-old right-hander was selected out of Mercer University in the fourth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
After Brundage called, Gearrin had less than 30 minutes to get to a Men's Wearhouse near Gwinnett's team hotel in Norfolk, Va.
"As soon as we got over there, they were like, 'We close in five minutes,'" Gearrin said. "I said, 'I just need a tie and a blazer.'"
The Braves will likely use a 13-man pitching staff through the remainder of this road trip. When they return home to prepare for next weekend's series against the Cardinals, they could opt to promote a position player and return to a 12-man pitching staff.
Arm rested, Venters returns to action
SAN FRANCISCO -- While many were wondering why he wasn't being used in Thursday's 12-inning loss to the Dodgers, Braves left-handed reliever Jonny Venters was pestering pitching coach Roger McDowell to let him know that he felt he was healthy enough to pitch.
"We have to use him soon because he's going to kill Roger or [head athletic trainer Jeff Porter]," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said a few hours before allowing Venters to produce a perfect eighth inning in Friday night's 4-1 win over the Giants.
Venters played catch Friday afternoon and informed the Braves medical staff that he wasn't feeling any of the upper left arm soreness that he's felt over the past couple weeks. When he complained about it again after Tuesday's 27-pitch appearance against the Dodgers, the Braves decided to rest him Wednesday and Thursday.
"He told Roger that he felt good to go," Gonzalez said. "I think those two days off helped him. We'll keep an eye on him."
Gonzalez said he likely won't ask Venters to make any multi-inning appearances any time soon. But the medical staff has assured him that the left-handed setup man isn't dealing with any structural issues.
"It's a muscle," Gonzalez said. "It's not a structural thing. It's not an elbow or shoulder. It kind of moves around a little bit. Some days it's the biceps and some days it's the triceps. They're not really concerned."
Venters' performance hasn't been affected by the discomfort. The 26-year-old southpaw has allowed just one earned run and two hits in the 10 2/3 innings he has pitched this year.
"I think it was just something that needed a couple days of not throwing at all," Venters said. "It's nothing serious. It's just sore. But it never had a chance to get better."
Braves getting by without backup center fielder
SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Braves optioned Matt Young to Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, they created the chance to spend the next week with a 13-man pitching staff. At the same time, they lost their only true backup center fielder.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Friday afternoon that he would likely use Martin Prado in center field if a situation arises where Nate McLouth has to leave a game within the week. Gonzalez indicated the club will likely return to a 12-man pitching staff by the start of next weekend's homestand against the Cardinals.
If he isn't replacing a player that has been placed on the disabled list, Young will have to remain in the Minors for at least 10 days. This could open the door for the Braves to promote Joe Mather, who entered Friday having hit .304 with a homer in 13 games with Gwinnett.
Freeman relishes playing in hometown area
SAN FRANCISCO -- After losing his wife Rosemary to melanoma 11 years ago, Fred Freeman assumed the responsibility of being a single parent and continued to allow his youngest son, Freddie, to pursue his passion for baseball in their hometown of Fountain Valley, Calif., which is located about 40 minutes south of downtown Los Angeles.
With the Braves at Dodger Stadium this past week, the elder Freeman had the opportunity to see his son shine in front of friends and family members. The Braves' rookie first baseman hit a pair of homers and added a double during the four-game series against the Dodgers.
This was the first time since being selected by the Braves in the second round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft that the 21-year-old Freeman played in his native state of California.
"He was just proud," said Freeman of his father, who is an accountant. "I think he would have been the same way if I had gone 0-fer every game. He was just happy to see me. Usually it's him having to fly cross-country to come see me. For me to be able to come home finally, it puts less stress on him, especially during tax season. It allows him to take his mind off work."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.