End of June rest a good call for Jones

Mississippi manger Phillip Wellman insisted that left fielder Brandon Jones take a couple days off at the end of June to rest a sore wrist.

"He didn't want to come out of the lineup, but I could tell it was bothering him," Wellman said.

In this case, the manager definitely knew best.

Jones - rated the Atlanta Braves' No. 4 prospect by Baseball America - has been as hot as the Mississippi weather in July.

The 23-year-old hit .412 with four doubles, a triple, two homers and 13 RBIs in the first eight games this month. In the process, he took over the RBI lead in the Class AA Southern League with 67 in 88 games.

"He's got the prettiest swing you'll see," Wellman said.

Jones might already be bidding for a spot in Atlanta if he hadn't had to battle injuries the past two seasons. He broke his left hand in 2005 and missed the final three weeks last season after shoulder surgery.

That's why he didn't want the sore wrist to cost him any playing time this season.

"I just want to keep improving and you have to play to do that," Jones said.

His 13 homers this year were just one off of his career best and his RBI total was already tops.

Jones was hitting .289 with a .365 on-base percentage and .487 slugging average. He also had 12 stolen bases.

"It's not a question of if he'll play in the big leagues, but when," Wellman said. "He's going to have a long career."

Jones, though, is trying not to look ahead. He's just enjoying his RBI binge. It's been fun," he said. "I've never had a streak like this before."

Richmond (AAA)

Brent Lillibridge started at shortstop for the United States in the All-Star Futures Game, but struck out during both of his plate appearances in the 7-2 loss to the World. ... Right-hander Manny Accosta pitched a scoreless inning in the International League's 7-5 victory over the Pacific Coast League in the Class AAA All-Star Game. He didn't allow a hit and struck out two, needing just 10 pitches. ... Richmond (49-38) led the South Division of the IL by four games over Durham at the All-Star break.

Mississippi (AA)

The South lost to the North 7-4 in the SL All-Star Game at Pearl, Miss., but it certainly wasn't the fault of Mississippi's J.C. Holt and Carl Loadenthal. The one-two hitters in the South lineup each had three hits and Holt added a walk. ... Left-hander Matt Harrison started for the South, allowing two hits in 12⁄3 scoreless innings. ... Right-hander Jose Ascanio struck out two in a perfect inning of relief. ... Jones, Matt Esquival and Diory Hernandez - the middle of the South order - were a combined 0-for-6.

Myrtle Beach (A)

Shortstop Elvis Andrus was 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the All-Star Futures Game, backing up MVP Chin-Lung Hu in the World's 7-2 victory over the United States. ... After starting the season 0-8, right-hander Jairo Cuevas was 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA. ... Center fielder Jordan Schafer was 15-for-38 during a nine-game hitting streak. ... Third baseman Eric Campbell went through a 1-for-26 slump. ... Right-hander Dustin Evans returned after spending all of June on the disabled list.

Rome (A)

Tim Gustafson dropped to 2-8 although he pitched a season-high seven innings and allowed just two earned runs against Columbus. The Parkview graduate's ERA was 4.77. ... Veteran major leaguer Tanyon Sturtze made three rehab appearances, pitching one inning each time. He is coming back from rotator cuff surgery. ... First baseman Larry Williams broke out of a slump by going 8-for-18 with a homer and six RBIs.

Danville (rookie)

Right-hander Cory Rasmus, a supplemental first-round draft choice in 2006, had to have shoulder surgery after not pitching at all this season. ... Third baseman Adam Coe was named player of the week in the Appalachian League after going 12-for-26 with six doubles, a homer and six RBIs. ... First baseman Ernesto Mejia had a 6-for-6 game that included two triples.