CHICAGO -- After keeping a rotation spot courtesy of Jair Jurrjens' demotion to the Minor League level, Randall Delgado concluded April with a second consecutive disappointing performance. But since then, the young pitcher has rewarded the patience Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez showed him.
"His learning curve is a short one," Gonzalez said. "You ask him to do stuff and fix it up and learn. It's nice to see him pitch every fifth day."
Delgado allowed nine earned runs while totaling just 9 2/3 innings in his final two April starts. Unfazed, the 22-year-old pitcher began May with a a career-long eight-inning effort that was completed less than 24 hours after the Braves had taxed their bullpen in an 11-inning win over the Phillies.
Feeding off the momentum of that start, Delgado limited the Cubs to one hit through the first five innings of Tuesday night's 3-1 win. But he did not gain a decision for his 5 2/3-inning effort after allowing Alfonso Soriano to end an eight-pitch at-bat with a game-tying single.
"Delgado has been battling and pitching great," Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said. "[Tuesday night] he really pitched his butt off and gave us a chance to win. I hate that we couldn't get him a 'W.' He's a great kid and just wants to win."
Chipper's repaired knee healing nicely
CHICAGO -- Chipper Jones does not have many fond memories of Wrigley Field. But with his surgically repaired left knee proving to be much less bothersome, the Braves third baseman was back in the lineup on Wednesday to play what will likely be his final game in the historic ballpark.
It marked just the second time Jones has been in the Braves' starting lineup on three consecutive days this year. Since making three consecutive starts April 15-17, he had been bothered by regular discomfort near the bottom, inside portion of his left knee.
But the discomfort and swelling around his knee has subsided over the past week. The 40-year-old third baseman believes that's a sign that he has nearly completed the healing process that began after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on March 26 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
"I'm not having the residual pain after games where it's hard to walk and hard to get out of bed," Jones said. "I can tell I'm five or six weeks out now, which is probably the normal timetable."
Jones returned to the Braves' lineup just 15 days after undergoing this latest surgical procedure. Yankees shortstop Alex Rodriguez and Brewers outfielder Corey Hart are among the Major Leaguers who have waited a month before returning from this surgery.
"I'm glad that I pushed it and came back, because after [the team started 0-4] we needed something, and I like to help however I can," said Jones, who entered Wednesday hitting .311 with five home runs and a .912 OPS.
With Jones set to retire at the end of this season, the Cubs recognized his last scheduled visit to Wrigley Field by presenting him with a "Braves flag" before Wednesday's game.
Hudson's sinker gives Wilson a schedule
CHICAGO -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has utilized Jack Wilson as a late-inning defensive replacement for rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky much of this season. Now it appears Wilson will also have a regular role as Tim Hudson's "personal shortstop."
With Hudson on the mound for Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Cubs, Wilson made just his second start at shortstop since April 23. Without coincidence, his other start during this span came with Hudson on the mound.
Because Hudson induces ground balls more frequently than any other member of the starting rotation, Wilson stands as the better option than Pastornicky, who provides more value with his bat than his glove.
"It's nice knowing that every time Timmy pitches I might be out there," Wilson said. "It's like a schedule. I'm on schedule. It's nice."
Wilson has served as valuable mentor to Pastornicky as the young shortstop has acclimated himself to the Major League scene this year.
"He obviously knows what's going on," Wilson said. "As a backup infielder, you're going to get some starts. This gives him a chance to kind of sit back. As a rookie, it's nice to be able to watch other big league players from the other team and your team. He's a good study. He pays attention and learns a lot."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.