Terrible news to pass along to Braves fans: Chipper Jones says he will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, and his stay on the disabled list will certainly bring talk of his possible retirement to the forefront. Chris Dimino of Sports Radio 790 tweets:
Just talked to Chipper. Torn ACL. Out for the year. Bad news all the way around
Following Jones' injury, the Braves were optimistic as recently as yesterday, so this comes as a major, and unfortunate, surprise.
First, let's address how the Braves will manage without Jones. Our Braves blog, Talking Chop, explored the issue and noted that the Braves will have to deplete their bench -- one of the team's strengths -- to fill the vacancy. Martin Prado, who has filled in at third base in the past and is set to return from the disabled list on Monday, is the likely candidate. This is a bit of positive news for Braves fans to take away, actually: Prado is having a great year, hitting .315 with an .841 OPS.
The real concern is of a more sentimental nature: Chipper Jones, the de facto face of the franchise, the team's only veteran of its 1995 World Series win, and likely a future Hall of Famer, may have played the final game of his career. Earlier this season, Chipper acknowledged that he was considering retirement at year's end. Will this accelerate Chipper's retirement, or give him incentive to return in 2011 and try to play at one more year at full strength?
We don't know. But it's painful to consider that a torn ACL, the same injury that derailed his career as a rookie, would send him into retirement, and we have to wonder whether this will be the last thing Chipper ever does on a baseball diamond.
(And, yes, he threw the guy out.)
For more on Chipper and the Braves, head over to our Braves blog, Talking Chop.