Braves’ Jones done?
He plans meeting to discuss future
ATLANTA — Struggling through another disappointing season, Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said he was meeting with team officials yesterday to discuss his future and acknowledged that he’s considering retirement.
Jones declined to comment directly on whether he’ll retire at the end of the season, but it seemed clear he’s made up his mind and merely needed to work out a settlement with the team over the $28 million in guaranteed money he’s owed for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
“It’s obvious that it’s something I’ve been thinking about,’’ Jones said after arriving at Turner Field. “I need to go through the proper channels. Once those have all been taken care of, everybody’s questions will be answered.’’
Jones, 38, who was the NL MVP in 1998 and led the league in hitting just two years ago, met before batting practice with team president John Schuerholz, general manager Frank Wren, and manager Bobby Cox.
Jones said he planned to discuss some “red tape issues’’ with team officials. Asked if those involved a resolution of his contract, Jones replied, “That would be fair to say.’’
He struggled last season and indicated that another difficult year would likely lead him to consider retirement, even if it meant walking away from a huge amount of money.
This season has been even tougher for Jones, though the Braves are leading the NL East. He’s battled injuries and was hitting just .228 with three homers and 22 RBIs heading into a three-game series against Tampa Bay.
The Braves have gotten more production at third base out of utility infielders Omar Infante (.314, 1 HR, 16 RBIs) and Brooks Conrad (.280, 3 HR, 12 RBIs), which has made Jones’ troubles stand out even more.
“Well, anytime you’ve struggled at the plate and you’re having trouble producing, it’s frustrating,’’ Jones said. “I’m used to being in the middle of everything, but it hasn’t been happening. Hopefully I’ll have a better second half and really help contribute to this team staying in first place.’’