Chipper Jones has waited long enough for his right quadriceps muscle to heal, and now he might be destined to make his first trip of the season to the disabled list.
Before missing his eighth straight start on Sunday, the Braves' third baseman said he was starting to wonder if he would be healthy enough to play in this year's All-Star Game.
Then after Sunday's 1-0 loss to the Blue Jays, when manager Bobby Cox indicated that a stint on the disabled list was possible, Jones added that there was a "distinct" possibility that he'll miss most of the next two weeks.
"I'm the only one in here who knows how I feel," Jones said. "I can do the fast-twitch stuff -- I can hit and I can even field -- but I just can't run."
When Jones aggravated the quad injury on June 20, he indicated that he was feeling more discomfort than he had when he'd tweaked the muscle twice earlier this season.
"We probably should have DL'd me right when it happened," Jones said on Sunday. "I knew that it was worse than the previous time. But the competitive side of me wanted to help the club, and I've always been a fairly quick healer. So I figured in five or six days, it would be OK, or at least good enough to get back in there. It just hasn't gotten good enough, fast enough."
Cox was hoping to use Jones as the designated hitter this past weekend in Toronto, and he still thought, as recently as Sunday morning, that his third baseman could be back in the starting lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Phillies at Turner Field.
But his stance changed after Sunday's game, and he conceded that he'll have to persevere a little longer without Jones, who leads the Majors with a .394 batting average.
"I don't think Chipper is close to playing," Cox said.
Because Jones made himself available to pinch-hit twice last week, the retroactive date if he were placed on the disabled list would be June 26.
This would allow Jones to be activated on July 11, in time for the final series before the All-Star break.
Jones currently leads National League third basemen in All-Star balloting and has been looking forward to starting his fourth career Midsummer Classic. But right now, he's just hoping this additional rest will allow him to get healthy.
"I'd miss nine or 10 days that, quite frankly, I'm probably going to need," said Jones, who still isn't able to run with more than 50 percent effort.
On the bright side, Cox believes Yunel Escobar will return to the lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Phillies. Escobar has been out since straining his left shoulder while sliding back into first base during last Tuesday's game against the Brewers.
During Sunday's batting practice, Cox was encouraged that Escobar was able to show more extension with his swings, an act that had been causing him pain.
"I think Esco should be ready," Cox said.
Because he missed nearly two months with a left thumb injury, the Braves aren't too excited about activating Martin Prado from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday. But because utility man Omar Infante is still battling some discomfort in the right hamstring that he strained on Wednesday, they might not have any other choice.
Entering Sunday, Prado had recorded two hits in the 11 at-bats he'd registered in three Minor League rehab appearances for Double-A Mississippi.
The Braves will get another familiar face back on Tuesday, as Mark Kotsay (back) will be activated from the disabled list. He tallied six hits, including a double, in 18 at-bats during his rehab assignment with Mississippi, and returned to Atlanta on Sunday.