ATLANTA — Braves third baseman Chipper Jones was cleared to take a few swings in live batting practice on Sunday, but he still doesn’t know when he can return to Atlanta’s lineup.
Team hand specialist Gary Lourie told Jones that his sore wrists looked fine after he made some soft throws across the infield before the Braves’ 9-5 victory over Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.
‘‘The bottom line is it’s critical I get back in there,’’ Jones said. ‘‘At the same time I’ve got to be smart and not rush back. I don’t want to find myself back on the DL because I came back too soon.’’
The cuts in batting practice were Jones’ first since May 24, his last game. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 1 with a bruised right hand.
Adding that his right hand hurts worse than his left, particularly with the knob of a bat in his hands, Jones said he still has soreness in his wrists, but he’s ‘‘doing normal stuff around the house, like playing with the kids.’’
The Braves, who entered Sunday with a 2-6 record in their last eight games, were 6-10 without Jones. If manager Bobby Cox is told that Jones can risk no further damage, there’s a chance the 1999 NL MVP could work as a designated hitter sometime this week.
Atlanta opens three-game series at Minnesota on Tuesday before playing a weekend set at Cleveland.
Jones doesn’t know if the Braves might have him play in a rehab game before he comes off the DL.
‘‘That’s not up to me,’’ he said. ‘‘I think Bobby’s of the belief that when I’m ready he wants to get me in there. There’s no sense in going down to (Class A) Rome or wherever I may go, just to see if I can play. Once I get to the point in BP where I feel like I can get it done come game time, let’s roll. Let’s strap it on.’’
HUDSON FEELING BETTER
RHP Tim Hudson, who left his start on Saturday after taking a line drive off his left leg, believes the soreness will subside before his next start Thursday at Minnesota.
‘‘I feel like a big sissy today,’’ Hudson joked. ‘‘It really hurt yesterday, but I got some ice on it and this little thing here (an anti-inflammatory pad) is a miracle-worker.’’
Thanks to solid performances in his first 10 starts, Hudson is 6-4 with a 3.51 ERA this season. Unfortunately, he’s 0-2 with a 7.86 ERA in his last four outings.
MORE TIME OFF FOR MCCANN
Rookie C Jarrod Saltalamacchia made his 12th start, replacing Brian McCann, whose ankle still needs more time to heal. Cox said that Saltalamacchia will be in the lineup again on Tuesday at Minnesota. The Braves are off Monday.