Chipper Jones has never had back-to-back bad seasons,
and he is not expecting that to change now. He knew while he was going through
his hitting slump last season that his problems were mechanical, because of the
way the ball was rotating when it was put in play.
But even with Jones being so un-Chipper-like, the Braves
had opportunities late in the season to make the playoffs. And that's what Jones
expects in 2010.
"I think we can contend for the Eastern
Division," he said at season's end.
Of the NL teams that did move on to the postseason,
Jones noted, "We split with Colorado. But every other team who's in, we
beat in the season series. I didn't have a good year. (Brian McCann) had a solid
year; I don't think he would say he had a great year. You bounce back with a
couple of good seasons out of me and Mac in the middle of the lineup next year
-- not even counting some of the additions we make in the offseason -- you're
talking about a few more games in the standings."
"There's no reason to believe that those guys won't continue to do the things that they did," Jones said. "Those guys really got a grasp of how to pitch and how to keep the team in the ballgame. A couple of them are only going to get better."
Chipper Jones career stats
News, notes and quotes
News, notes and quotes
--Second baseman Martin Prado proved his worth at second
base by unseating incumbent Kelly Johnson in the middle of last season. Prado
won't similarly oust Chipper Jones, but he could prove to be the best option to
back up Jones long-term. In that scenario, pencil in INF Omar Infante at second
--Right-hander Kris Medlen doesn't necessarily face more
competition for a spot in the bullpen with the signings of LHP Michael Dunn, RHP
Scott Proctor and RHP Jesse Chavez because he is capable of both multi-inning
long relief and closing.
--Tommy Hanson will be concentrating this season on
mixing in his changeup, having command of all four pitches and stopping the
--Jordan Schafer has begun swinging the bat now that he
has recovered from surgery on his left wrist. In January, Schafer began taking
swings in the Turner Field batting cage, the first time since last April 10 he
had no pain doing so.
--Outfielder Jason Heyward, widely regarded as the
Braves' best prospect and one of the top prospects in baseball, will be given a
shot at winning the right field position in spring training.
He said what? "It'll be the same. It
will be the last one, but it will be the same: stressful, enjoyable, however you
want to call it." -- Manager Bobby Cox on what he expects his final season
to be like.