The Atlanta Braves offense has scored only four runs in their past two games while missing both Brian McCann and Chipper Jones and have lost four of their five games since Jones went down with a calf injury last Friday. Both are making progress in their prospective returns that could prove vital to the Braves' offensive production.
Jones has been out since getting drilled with a line drive by B.J. Upton in Tampa on Friday. The result was a six-inch wide bruise on his left calf that will force Chipper to wear a shinguard the rest of the year.
He was out of the starting lineup Wednesday for his fifth straight day out, but he made a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh inning of Wednesday's loss to the Cincinnati Reds. He walked on five pitches and was replaced by Tim Hudson as a pinch-runner.
Juan Francisco has filled in, but only has one hit, a solo homer on Monday, in the three games against the Reds. He has gone only 3-for-19 on the road trip.
Chipper did not tell mlb.com that there was a timetable for his return.
"I can hit and I can field, but I still can't run," said Jones. "I can't run the bases. I don't have whatever normal range I have. Nobody wants to be out there more than me, but I've got to be smart as to whether I'm helping the team or hurting the team."
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said that Jones has taken batting practice the last two days and looked good Wednesday, but has also been up front about whether he can play or not.
McCann missed his second straight game Wednesday since being sidelined with flu-like symptoms. He was originally in the lineup to face Bronson Arroyo, against whom he is 9-for-18 lifetime.
"His temperature is down from yesterday and we were trying to get him ready to play," said manager Fredi Gonzalez during a pregame media session. "He got here early, we got him moving around, but he's got the chills going right now and he's got the body ache. His joints are aching."
David Ross has replaced McCann behind the plate, but has gone hitless in eight at-bats in the series.
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