Chipper Jones to have knee surgery

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones will have arthroscopic surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Jones injured the knee Thursday when he slipped while stretching before batting practice. It also was just before his scheduled news conference, where he announced he was planning to retire after this season.

"We were talking on the field to get ready to go up for the news conference, he called (manager) Fredi (Gonzalez) in off the field to let him know he thought he had just injured his knee and it didn't feel right," Braves general manager Frank Wren said Saturday. "Just a strange coincidence."

Jones, who turns 40 next month, suffered a similar injury last summer, when he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

"When he had it last year, it was only 17 days, and talking to Chipper, he feels like he can make it back for our home opener (April 13)," Gonzalez said. "The difference between this year and last year, last year he was in midseason form when he did it. Now he's in conditioning mode, so it's possible it could be another week.

"I feel like he can come back and be fine. I'm not worried that he won't come back and be able to play and be a productive player. I've seen him do it too many times."

Dr. Marvin Royster, who had performed all five of Jones' previous knee surgeries, was in Florida and looked at the MRI Friday, then examined Jones Saturday morning, when he diagnosed the torn meniscus.

"It just stinks. I feel bad for the guy, because he's trying to go out on a good note and then this happens," catcher David Ross said. "But the one thing about Chipper, he heals faster than anybody I've ever seen. Knowing him, he'll get back in about a week and a half. I just hope for him he gets healthy and gets back and has a great last year."

The plan now is to move Martin Prado from left field to third base, and mix and match in left, most likely with a platoon of Eric Hinske and Matt Diaz.