CINCINNATI -- Juan Francisco's return to Cincinnati began with a start at third base.
The ex-Red batted seventh as he started for the third straight game in place of the injured Chipper Jones, who is still dealing with a bruised left calf injury suffered last Friday against the Rays.
The Braves acquired Francisco from the Reds in exchange for right-handed reliever J.J. Hoover on April 1. Monday was Francisco's 15th start at third base this season, and he's hitting .240 with three home runs -- including a solo shot off the Reds' Mike Leake in the top of the second inning on Monday -- and 11 RBIs in those starts.
"I feel comfortable with everything, and I'm working hard every day, waiting for the opportunity," said Francisco. "This trade has been good for me. I've got a good opportunity here to play more than in Cincinnati."
Francisco split time between the Reds and the Minors the past three seasons, hitting .284 with five home runs and 29 RBIs in 81 games with Cincinnati.
"We got him to spell Chipper," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "Not to wish injury or any length of DL time on Chipper, [but] that's why we got him, to give him a breather every once in a while, and he's done that. He's done fine and well."
Injured Chipper hopes to be back for Reds set
CINCINNATI -- Chipper Jones hopes his bruised left calf will allow him to play at some point during the Braves' four-game series against Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park, but it wasn't in Monday's opener.
Jones was wearing a wrap around his injured calf while speaking with reporters in the clubhouse Monday afternoon.
"I feel like I'm probably a day or two away," said Jones. "I've got a golf-ball-sized blister right there that has got to go away. If I were to foul a ball off of that right now, you might as well just dig a hole and bury me right there at home plate, because I'm not getting up. It's still really painful, and my range of motion is not good enough to go out there and play defense, run the bases and all of that kind of stuff."
Jones was injured last Friday against Tampa Bay when a hard line drive hit by the Rays' B.J. Upton struck him just above the ankle. Jones was hitting .365 with two home runs and 10 RBIs over his previous 13 games before the injury.
"I keep saying day to day, because I'm always hopeful that he's in the lineup. He's done it before," said manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He wants to play. He's progressing well. Today, he looked like he was moving around better. You really can't push [the injury], but I'm always hopeful that by the end of the series, he'll get in there and get at least one game."
Chipper honored by Reds' gesture
CINCINNATI -- The Reds are honoring Braves third baseman Chipper Jones during the four-game series by using commemorative bases saluting Jones' career.
Jones has announced that this season will be his last. When Jones first arrived in the Major Leagues, the Braves and Reds were division rivals in the National League West. The Reds will present Jones with one of the bases prior to the start of Thursday's series finale, also giving one to the Braves organization and keeping one for display in their own Hall of Fame.
"It's unique," said Jones. "It's something I never would have thought of, but it's awfully nice and classy of the Cincinnati Reds organization to do that. It's not expected, but I look forward to getting out and looking at it and hopefully rounding it maybe once or twice."
Jones is not playing in the opener due to a left calf bruise. He has been given a tribute during every final road trip into opposing cities this season. He received the Wrigley Field Braves flag from the Cubs, and the Rays played a video tribute to Jones this past weekend. Jones is from Deland, Fla., not far from St. Petersburg.
"I really don't know how to react to what's going on. It's hard for me to put into words," said Jones. "Obviously, most places that I've gone in my career I've gotten booed or heard a lot of hate and that kind of stuff. But like yesterday in Tampa, when I stepped out of the dugout and see everyone standing and clapping, it's real shocking, but much appreciated."
Bobby Cox turned 71 on Monday. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he spoke with Cox, who was packing to travel to Selma, Calif., for a Hall of Fame ceremony in his hometown.
Martin Prado had his 10-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday after going 0-for-3, but he went 2-for-4 Sunday to start anew. Prado has hit safely in 31 of the 40 games he has played this season.
Kevin Goheen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.