ATLANTA -- Hours after saying he hoped Chipper Jones could return to action this weekend, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez announced the veteran third baseman would be going on the disabled list.
Gonzalez made the announcement after seeing his backup catcher David Ross suffer a groin strain during Friday night's 7-4 loss to the Nationals. With Ross destined to miss at least a few days and Jones' badly bruised left calf not showing improvement, the Braves could not spend the next couple of days playing two men short on their bench.
"It's not getting better, and we're starting to play a little shorthanded," Gonzalez said. " It's not fair for him or the team. "
As Jones displayed a multicolored bruise that illuminated most of the lower portion of his left leg on Friday afternoon, he figured the possibility of him going on the disabled list had been erased when he pinch-hit in Wednesday's loss to the Reds.
The pinch-hit appearance, which resulted in a walk, prevented the Braves from making this disabled list transaction retroactive to May 19. That would have put the 40-year-old third baseman in line to be activated on June 3. Now with the transaction being made retroactive to Thursday, Jones will not be eligible for activation until June 8.
"It's going to be the whole 15 days, and maybe even a little longer than that," Gonzalez said while indicating he expects Jones will go on a Minor League rehab assignment before being activated.
The Braves have gone 19-5 with Jones in the starting lineup this year, and 7-16 without him. Friday night's series opener against the Nationals marked the seventh straight game in which he was not in the lineup.
Jones' optimism about his leg has decreased over the past couple of days as members of the team's medical staff have massaged the injured area in attempt to prevent all of the blood from resting around his ankle.
"Yesterday and today have been bad, just because they have been milking it [toward my knee]," Jones said before Friday's game. "They're trying to keep all the blood and fluid out of the ankle joint. When you do that, you get blood in the calf and the Achilles. It still makes range of motion pretty bad."
Jones was injured on May 18, when Rays outfielder B.J. Upton's sharp liner skipped off the Tropicana Field turf and struck his leg. The veteran third baseman wonders if the outcome would have been different had he not been playing on the unfamiliar turf surface that did not slow the ball as much as a grass surface would have.
"I've never been hit that hard," Jones said. "A bunch of people over the last weeks have said that's the nastiest. ... You feel bad missing games over a bruise. But that's not just a bruise. That's something that I have never seen before."
Ross' injury leads to McCann's return to action
ATLANTA -- Braves catcher David Ross left Friday's 7-4 loss to the Nationals in the second inning with a strained right groin. Even though manager Fredi Gonzalez does not expect Ross to be out of action for long, the Braves will still call up a catcher before Saturday's game.
Gonzalez said Ross has had minor groin strains before, which gives the Braves hope the injury is not serious. But with third baseman Chipper Jones headed to the disabled list with a severe bruise on his left calf, and catcher Brian McCann still recovering from the flu, the Braves' bench was getting short.
"[Ross has] had it before," Gonzalez said. "It's usually a day or two. We're hoping it's the same thing and not a major injury.
"Nevertheless, we can't go without a backup catcher."
The Braves do not have another catcher on their 40-man roster, so either J.C. Boscan or Jose Yepez, both at Triple-A Gwinnett, will likely replace Jones on the active roster. Boscan started Friday night but was removed in the sixth inning, possibly indicating a callup. He has played in five games for the Braves in since 2010 and is hitting .196 with two home runs in Triple-A this season.
Ross was injured in the bottom of the second inning, when he checked his swing on a 3-2 slider from left-hander Ross Detwiler. The pitch was ruled a ball and Ross immediately grabbed his groin before going to first base.
McCann replaced Ross as a pinch-runner and remained in the game to catch. McCann had been out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight day as he recovers from the flu and was not supposed to catch Friday. Gonzalez said playing seven innings behind the plate wore on McCann.
"His effect of the three days of sickness in Cincinnati was showing there in the last four innings," Gonzalez said. "He barely made it through."
Freeman deals with eye issues, back in lineup
ATLANTA -- Dry eyes continue to bother Freedie Freeman, but after "running around Atlanta" on Friday, the Braves' first baseman believes he has a solution that has allowed him to get back on the field.
He got new contacts and a pair of glasses to wear during games, which allowed him to return to the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Nationals after missing one game.
Gonzalez is happy to get Freeman back in the middle of the lineup.
"He came in this morning and saw the doctor, and we're good," Gonzalez said.
Freeman said his eye problems have hampered him over the last couple weeks. Whether he's at first base or in the batter's box, he said he sees two balls flying at him and has been reduced to guessing which one was real. After almost missing an easy throw from shortstop Tyler Pastornicky on Wednesday, he knew he had to sit out until his vision was fixed.
The problem, Freeman said, is his tear ducts aren't producing enough tears, which has led to his eyes drying out. The issue is similar to something that McCann went through a few years ago, and the pair have discussed many home remedies. Nothing, however has worked.
"I've been drinking eight, nine 16-ounce waters a day, trying to do everything I can," Freeman said. "I'm drinking everything and eating fish, I'm taking fish oil, I'm doing everything I can. Everything anybody has told me, I'm doing it. I'm just trying to get my eyes healthy."
Until his tear ducts return to normal, Freeman is keeping his eyes wet with eye drops. They are more effective when he wears glasses, so in addition to his new pair of glasses, he also ordered a special pair from Under Armor and is eagerly anticipating the shipment.
"We said it's an emergency," Freeman said. "They're cutting them right now, so hopefully [they come] before the next road trip. I'll just rock these for a couple days."
With the Nationals starting left-hander Ross Detwiler on Friday, manager Fredi Gonzalez opted to play Matt Diaz in left field and shift Martin Prado to third base. Gonzalez felt this was a better option than to replace Jason Heyward in right field with Diaz and play Juan Francisco, a left-handed hitter, at third base.
Chipper Jones needs just 12 more RBIs to surpass George Brett for the most career RBIs among players whose primary position has been third base.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.