After coming to Braves spring training for 22 years as a super prospect or major league star, Chipper Jones came as a retiree Saturday. And insisted he was comfortable in that new role.
“It’s a little different, but it feels right,” said the 40-year-old former third baseman, who retired last year after his 19th season in the majors. “I have no ambition to get down in the weight room, take an hour-and-a-half, two hours out of every day to get myself ready. And that’s what it takes to come into spring training ready.”
That’s what it takes to come to spring training ready to play, but not to serve as a guest instructor, the role Jones will have for the next four or five days. Dale Murphy, Tom Glavine, Phil Niekro and others have done the same in recent years at Braves spring training, and Fred McGriff is back for his second consecutive spring as guest instructor.
But none have returned quite so close to the end of their playing careers as Jones, a future Hall of Famer and Braves icon who played his entire major league career with Atlanta.
Four months after Jones and the Braves lost to St. Louis in the first-ever NL Wild Card game, and less than a full week into the team’s first spring training without him in nearly two decades, Jones will be back in uniform, bat in hand. Only it’ll be a fungo bat. There was one waiting with his familiar No. 10 on it when he arrived Saturday.
Chipper back in camp, with no itch for comeback
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Feb 17