Chipper Jones returns to Braves' lineup

Chipper Jones returned to the Braves' lineup Tuesday night against the Giants, and pitcher Jorge Campillo returned to the bullpen after Buddy Carlyle went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained back.

First, the Jones move. The veteran third baseman returned after missing four consecutive starts with a sprained right big toe.

"I'll be treading lightly, but I felt like I could go out there and, you know, play," Jones said after testing it with some running and cutting drills at AT&T Park before batting practice.

Shortstop Yunel Escobar (strained hip flexor) missed his fourth consecutive start Tuesday. Manager Bobby Cox said Escobar might return Wednesday, but added that Thursday's series opener at Arizona seemed more likely.

Jones said his toe was still sore but had improved enough to give it a go against the Giants and ace Tim Lincecum. Jones hit .319 with four homers, 16 RBI, 26 walks and a .444 on-base percentage in 35 games before Tuesday.

"I went out and ran, tried to move a little bit, run around and whatnot," he said. "It felt better than it had, so ..."

So, Cox inserted him in the lineup in his familiar third spot, between Casey Kotchman and hot-hitting Brian McCann, with Kelly Johnson leading off.

"He went out and ran. I was there," Cox said. "Give it a go, see what happens."

The Braves hope to have Escobar back in the No. 2 spot soon. Rookie Diory Hernandez was 2-for-12 in four games in place of Escobar before Tuesday.

Jones said he felt some pressure to return after watching the team struggle in Monday's 8-2 loss to the Giants and left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.

The Braves went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position Monday, but swept Toronto in a weekend series without Jones in the lineup. He pinch-hit Sunday and Monday.

"Especially against left-handers, if I'm not in there our lineup has a distinctly different look to it," said the switch-hitter, who has missed 11 starts.

Before Tuesday, the Braves were 18-15 with him in the lineup, 5-6 without him.

Campillo for Carlyle

Carlyle had gotten lit up by hitters in several appearances recently, and Tuesday the Braves finally divulged a reason for his woeful performance.

The journeyman right-hander had a recurrence of neck pain -- it was termed a neck strain, but Carlyle said it was the neck -- from a collision with San Diego's Kevin Kouzmanoff along the first-base line on May 8, 2008.

Carlyle got an injection soon after, which relieved the pain and stiffness for the rest of the season. Carlyle said the problem didn't crop up again until spring training. In the past six weeks, it got progressively worse.

"My velocity's down, and my mechanics are out of whack," said Carlyle, whose 8.84 ERA and .369 opponents' average included 15 hits, 12 runs, seven walks and three homers allowed in his past five appearances.

"It's frustrating because I pride myself in being there for my team. But I wasn't doing anybody any favors, doing what I was doing. It was embarrassing."

He was to return to Atlanta on Wednesday and get another injection.

Campillo was on the DL six weeks for rotator-cuff tendinitis. He gave up five hits and two runs in five innings during two rehab appearances, including a three-inning stint for Class AAA Gwinnett on Thursday.

He was scheduled to pitch Monday for Gwinnett, but the Braves pulled him out of that assignment after the Carlyle decision. Campillo caught a flight to San Francisco on Tuesday and was scheduled to arrive before the game.