Jones retirement watch: Braves 3B mum
ATLANTA -- Call it Day 2 of the Chipper Jones retirement watch.
The Atlanta Braves' third baseman said Wednesday he's still not ready to announce whether he'll call it a career after the season.
"There's no change," he said, standing at his clubhouse locker before batting practice. "After all the courtesy that I've given [the media] over the years, I would hope that I would be given the same courtesy to kind of do this in my own time, in my own way. That's that."
On Tuesday, Jones met with manager Bobby Cox, general manager Frank Wren and team president John Schuerholz to discuss his future. Jones has struggled with injuries and is clearly frustrated about the way he's played the past two seasons.
Jones, 38, went into Wednesday's game hitting just .233 with four homers and 23 RBIs, although an ailing finger is feeling better. He showed a more familiar swing in the series opener, homering into the center-field seats and doubling to the gap in right-center, although it wasn't enough to keep the Braves from a 10-4 loss.
"The ring finger's feeling better, as evidenced by some of the swings last night," Jones said. "It feels good to finally get some results. I'm hoping there's a lot more of that over the course of the rest of the first half and the second half."
And what happens after that? Jones isn't ready to say.
"I will address the media when the time is right," he said. "As of right now, all my questions are not answered. When that all happens, I'll come to you guys and answer as many questions as I can for you guys. Hopefully, it's very soon."
Jones is under contract through 2012 and is owed $28 million in guaranteed money in the next two seasons.
"I understand that this is a pressing story, and it's big around the Atlanta area," he said. "But again, I'll do this my way, and hopefully everybody can understand that, because there are some things that need to be addressed before I answer any questions about my future."
In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Jones said he had some "red-tape issues" to clear up before he can make a final decision. Asked whether those involved a resolution of his contract, he replied, "That would be fair to say."
Jones' father is not convinced that the 1999 NL MVP, who led the league in hitting just two years ago, has decided to quit.
"I think a lot of it has to do with how things go the next three months," Larry Jones said. "If he gets hot and he's hitting the ball well, it's going to be hard to walk away."
But Jones' parents said they'll support whatever decision he makes.
"He's pretty down in the dumps about things right now," Larry Jones said. "He talked to me about it three or four months ago, and I told him, 'Don't make a decision based on how you feel right now. Give it a chance.' But I'm running out of times I can say, 'Give it a chance.'"
Added Lynne Jones, "He's earned the right to do what he wants to do."
The switch hitter played only four games during an 11-game road trip because of his sore finger, just the latest in a series of injuries that have plagued him for several seasons.
But the off days appeared to help.
"I was very encouraged about last night," Jones said. "If anything, the time off allowed me to get in the cage in an unpressurized situation and figure some things out, especially left-handed. I feel like I've done that."
Will it be enough to keep him around for another season?
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press