Chipper adds muscle, adjusts swing

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – After slumping through the second half of a career-worst season, Chipper Jones examined what went wrong and came to a couple of conclusions.

His swing was too long, and his strength was too low.

That’s why the Braves’ 37-year-old third baseman reported to spring training last week not only bigger and more muscular, but also accompanied by Larry Jones Sr., his father and personal hitting coach.

“We’re just going over some stuff, points of emphasis,” said Larry Jr., aka Chipper, who described what he and pops noticed.

“Early in my career I would keep both hands on the bat through the swing,” he said, “and over the years I’ve gotten a lot longer with my swing because I’m letting go.”

And now?

“I’m trying to get back to a shorter, quicker, more powerful swing left-handed by keeping both hands on the bat,” he said. “And it’s a little weird for me, but that’s what this [spring training] is for, to just get a ton of repetitions.”

Jones won a his first National League batting title in 2008, hitting a career-best .364 with 22 home runs, a league-leading .470 on-base percentage and a .575 slugging percentage.

His average plunged 100 points to .264 in 2009, and he had a career-low 18 homers, a .388 OBP (his lowest in five seasons), and a .430 slugging percentage that was 20 points off his previous worst of .450 as a rookie in 1995.

He’s the only switch-hitter ever with at least a .300 average (.307) and 300 homers (426). But Jones, who has a .541 career slugging percentage, was more than 100 points below that mark in 2009, including an anemic .377 slugging percentage batting left-handed.

“My bread and butter was always being able to drive the ball out of the ballpark to left, left-center and center,” he said. “And the last couple of years I’m not getting carry on balls like I used to. It’s not because I’ve lost bat speed. It’s not because I’ve lost strength. It’s just that little fundamental flaw, that bad habit that I got into.”

He also felt his strength was down late in the season, when his weight dropped below 215 pounds from his 225 spring reporting weight.

This season he’s at 232 pounds, and much of the weight is in thicker shoulders and arms. Before he began hitting four or five times a week with catcher Brian McCann after Christmas, Jones lifted a lot of weights in the gyms he has in his Atlanta home and Texas ranch.

“I lifted hard,” he said. “My workouts are not extensive; I’m not in there two hours. I’m in there probably 45 minutes or an hour. But when I’m in there I hit it hard. I can honestly say I got something out of each and every session.

“I’m as heavy now as I’ve ever been. I felt like I didn’t finish the year out strong, physically, last year. I just want to really try as best as I can to maintain my weight and strength throughout the course of the season.

“It’s hard because it’s so hot in Atlanta, and the last thing you want to do after a day game in Atlanta or after one of those rain-delayed games that gets over with at 1 o’clock (a.m.) is go in and work out. But I’m going try and stay on it as much as possible.”

70 comments Add your comment

Patty321

February 27th, 2010
6:13 pm

chipper better do somthin

Poorbrave

February 27th, 2010
6:21 pm

Great report on Chipper. He’s the man. Hope he has his best year. Great job DOB. SUPER!

Leonardo

February 27th, 2010
6:21 pm

Man, if he can pump out 25 homers a year in these remaining 3 years he’ll be at 500. That’s impressive career line (already is). Hope it reaches it.

Coach B

February 27th, 2010
6:32 pm

Love the article on Chipper! Chipper is the man, does what he needs to do to help the team and to help himself. Sounds like he has prepared himself well for another great year.

Bill

February 27th, 2010
6:33 pm

How is Melky fitting in with other players and how is he looking so far? How does he see his trade to Braves…less pressure are more to get job done? Whats his expectation with team…etc?

The report on Chavez was great stuff. Thanks.

Gil In Mechanicsville

February 27th, 2010
6:34 pm

Maybe Chipper should hire Julio Franco as his personal trainer, he was legendary in his devotion to his weight training and it sure served him pretty well…

renegade#1

February 27th, 2010
6:39 pm

Gotta be some bonuses in his contract somewhere for him to get this motavated.

Some Sense

February 27th, 2010
6:49 pm

Wait a minute, now. He’s accompanied by his, ah, “personal hitting coach”, his father??? This is so high school. The last guy who pulled that one on the Braves is a mediocre outfielder now for the NY Mets.

Don’t care who you are Chip. You’re showing up your team and its coaches.

whensidslid92

February 27th, 2010
6:53 pm

“It’s hard because it’s so hot in Atlanta, and the last thing you want to do after a day game in Atlanta or after one of those rain-delayed games that gets over with at 1 o’clock (a.m.) is go in and work out. But I’m going try and stay on it as much as possible.”

DOB–Do you know…do most players stay and lift after games? Never really gave much thought towards they do as far as weight-lifting ‘in season’…

s. alex

February 27th, 2010
6:57 pm

Hey why not bring in your father as his hitting coach. Terry Pendleton hasn’t done anything with Chipper to improve his swing. Good job Chipper.

Knockahoma

February 27th, 2010
7:04 pm

Chipper’s dad is a former baseball coach. (College I believe). He’s always been his hitting coach and done quite well I think

Knockahoma

February 27th, 2010
7:09 pm

Don’t be so quick to criticize #10. He’s got 3 more yrs guaranteed on his contract. His workouts were driven by his competitive spirit.
Just because they’re professional players doesn’t mean they aren’t driven to win. If he returns to 2008 form, the Braves can compete in the NL East.

bravefaninok

February 27th, 2010
7:10 pm

Some Sense

February 27th, 2010
6:49 pm

Wait a minute, now. He’s accompanied by his, ah, “personal hitting coach”, his father??? This is so high school. The last guy who pulled that one on the Braves is a mediocre outfielder now for the NY Mets.

Don’t care who you are Chip. You’re showing up your team and its coaches.

If Memory serves me ,His Dad has been a coach and his personal hitting coach since he was a kid.

bravefaninok

February 27th, 2010
7:12 pm

Delbert D.

February 27th, 2010
7:17 pm

Soon he’ll be tweaking his oblique and missing April and May.

Brava

February 27th, 2010
7:21 pm

Good grief! Why would anyone demean the relationship between Chipper and his dad? Any true Braves fan knows that Larry Sr. has always been the person Chipper went to throughout his career when he felt he needed an adjustment to his swing. I’m just happy to hear that they seem to have isolated the problem and Chipper is working on getting his mojo back.

ElBraggO

February 27th, 2010
7:22 pm

Chipper isn’t over the hill yet, but he is high enough up the hill, that he can see all the way down the other side. I kid, I kid, all the lucky people on this earth, do get old. I hope Chipper can stay healthy and hits 25 go 30 HRs and gets over 100 RBIs. Mr. Bobby, please rest Chipper one day a week, us old folks need a little time off every now and then, to rejuvenate.Oh yeah, Mr. Bobby, how about resting your starting catcher every 5 to 7 days, I think the overall results will improve the won/loss record of the team.
GO BRAVES!! 2010.

Changing Chipper : baseballmusings.com

February 27th, 2010
7:22 pm

[...] Chipper Jones worked on his swing and his strength during the off-season. [...]

chem

February 27th, 2010
7:23 pm

At least he’s tweaking his swing and not his oblique.

Ed Glennon

February 27th, 2010
7:32 pm

Could we make Chipper’s dad the Braves’ hitting coach and let TP pal around with Glavine.

Darvish Start : baseballmusings.com

February 27th, 2010
7:37 pm

[...] Yu Darvish started off the spring training season for the Nippon Ham Fighters with five good innings. I wonder when we’ll see him in the US? [...]

ExBraves Fan

February 27th, 2010
7:44 pm

So the broken Chipper added muscle huh? How is that going to help his crummy broken feet, continual wrist and thumb injuries which hit him EVERY year now? Nope, the Chipper has crumbled. A mighty .255, 16 dingers and 54 RBI will send him off to the ranch for the rest of his life next fall.

ed

February 27th, 2010
7:57 pm

I thought he retired years ago. Goes on the DL every time he stumps his toe.

GovClintonTyree

February 27th, 2010
8:45 pm

Ex, you are a douche nozzle. Go do what you do on a Mets blog.

David O'Brien

February 27th, 2010
9:15 pm

Whensidslid: Regarding players staying to lift after games. Yes, many do, home and road. As we’re waiting outside the clubhouse to be let in after games on the road, there are always a handful of players who walk past, usually with a coach, on their way to the stadium weight room, which is usually over by the home team’s clubhouse.

It’s difficult for some guys to stay motivated to lift after games, but it’s important to maintain strength over a 162-game season. Most guys don’t feel like they can just play games and keep their strength up. And if they don’t work out on game days, they’re not going to be working out much at all, obviously — because the team plays about six days a week on average, often going 9-10 days or more without an off day.

Chipper Jones

February 27th, 2010
10:27 pm

Retire? Cattle gotta eat ! Games start next week, but I got some fishing and golf to get in before I start thinking baseball. See ya on the DL !

Nelson

February 27th, 2010
10:38 pm

The only thing Chipper (and Cox) has to understand is that He’s not an everyday player anymore, He, like all of us has to rest two days per week!!!!

sidslidkid

February 27th, 2010
11:06 pm

Whensidslid, this blog aint big enough for the two of us.

bravesfanforever

February 27th, 2010
11:28 pm

i personally see nothing wrong with getting additional help elsewhere. I say, “whatever works”. Besides, there’s no reason why Chipper can’t talk to his own father–about anything including hitting. Why in the world would anyone say there is something wrong with that?? We all have our private lives including him.

Whether some of you like it or not, even the president gets advice from his wife and possibly even the groundskeeper at the White House. Chipper is going to get advice from all kinds of people and I’m glad he has someone he trusts like his own father.

we’ll see if adding additional weight does him some good. I certainly hope so. Some guys add weight and it backfires.

But I sincerely think his problem was exactly as he says: lost staying power, lost strength, lost bat speed. You could see it! He started out the season very well–like the old Chipper–so I suspect there won’t be any reason to expect any different this time. The issue is whether or not he can keep it up–and keep from getting injured.

FINGERS CROSSED!!

GO BRAVES!!

Arno

February 28th, 2010
12:23 am

Never been the biggest Chipper fan, but I do respect and admire him. I like his attitude going into this season…sure could use him. Good point, previous poster, about Julio Franco. Stay healthy, Chipper, and do the job!

Richard Simmons

February 28th, 2010
12:26 am

Chip played in 143 games last year, his most since ‘03 and had his worst year of his career. Maybe it’s beneficial for him to spend some time on the DL. Rest his creaky body.

Conyers Braves Fan

February 28th, 2010
4:41 am

Sounds like Chipper is giving his all to have a good season. This is one player who has been a “team guy” all of his carrier such as restructuring his salary to help the Braves Also, he does all he can to help the young Braves develop their careers. Good luck for a great season Chipper!!

jadarm

February 28th, 2010
5:35 am

Seems like a lot of folks on this blog would hate on Albert Pujols if he were their first baseman.

Mr. Jones has always been Chip’s “go-to” guy when he has been mired in a slump. No two batters swing the same way or approach hitting the same way. TP is fine, … but why mess with what works? I mean, all Chipper has done is put up HOF numbers his entire career and will go down as one of the best switch hitters in baseball history.

Should he cure cancer too?

willie g hates bill shanks

February 28th, 2010
6:14 am

gee chipper, heavier weight means he will run much slower and get injured more he wont play in 100 games again this year,what about garrett anderson are the braves gonna sign the hitting machine or not?

willie g hates bill shanks

February 28th, 2010
6:16 am

give anderson a minor league contract put hom on the bench , the braves have hinske, thats it.

Big K

February 28th, 2010
6:26 am

Why not bring in his father? What is his alternative, Terry Pendleton? I rest my case.

hop

February 28th, 2010
6:28 am

I cannot believe we have people on this blog critizing chipper for all he does for the braves.
despite the constant battle with his health,this guy gives it his all for the team and his stats show how valuable he has been throughout his career!

if chipper can put it together one more time e.g. 2008 season,the braves have an outside shot to be a contender,if not it will be a very long season!

tls

February 28th, 2010
6:29 am

Just hope he’s not muscle bound. I think that had a lot to do with Frenchy’s slump and remember years back when Mark DeRosa was to be third baseman: he came to camp and everyone said how buffed and bulked up he was. Then he hit 218 with three homers through August, lost the job and ended up blowing out a knee and being cut.

bravesgrl4life

February 28th, 2010
7:53 am

I hope this is Chipper’s career year! He’s been The Brave for a lot of years now, with him and Bobby being the only constants since 1995. I know he had some personal issues a few years back, but who of us hasn’t had those? He’s grown out of that and is not a bad guy. I am hoping only the best for my Braves and Chipper this year. If you’re not, well, then, that’s your problem. As for me, I am not going to poo poo the chances before even the first ST game!

Lew

February 28th, 2010
8:23 am

A player who has a phenomenal career figures out hat he’s been doing wrong on an off year (a year after he won a Batting Championship) and works to get back to his normal level of production (which has him as one of the three best Switch Hitters in all of Baseball History) and some of y’all claim it’s motivated by money and do nothing but bitch, moan, groan and deride the Dude. Takes a lot of idiocy and plenty lack of sense to take that stance and to actually show people in public just how freaking stupid you are.

Did any of y’all And Idiots ever think that pride might have something to do with it? Nah, guess not. You’d actually have to have a clue of what pride is – something I would imagine you don’t – probably because there’s nothing in your own lives to take pride in.

Chief Nock A Homa

February 28th, 2010
9:20 am

Great – Another man crush article by DOB….

wjones

February 28th, 2010
9:24 am

Grreat points, Lew. Well said,sir. I believe most of these “blog fans” will get shipped out before the season starts. At least I hope so.

DDT

February 28th, 2010
9:27 am

Lew, tell it like it is!!

Lew

February 28th, 2010
10:20 am

wjones-We need a blog DFA policy, don’t we?

Danny

February 28th, 2010
10:20 am

Chipper is a great player. I saw him play in the 2006 World Baseball Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona.
I am a big fan of baseball, was only 6 years old at the time (I am 10 now and play year round competitive baseball) that I saw him play. Chipper offered to autograph my baseball. I don’t know what I was thinking, I said no as I wanted Jeter’s signature. Note to Chipper, I would love that autograph now that I am older and wiser :) . My O’Brien, you have a great blog, please check mine out at http://www.ehomerun.com Thank you.
Danny

Nathan

February 28th, 2010
10:32 am

Hope he has it worked out. Chipper’s a great guy and I hope he contributes in a huge way this year. Just think if we can get Chipper back on track with 25-30 HR, Glaus hit 20-25, amd McCann hit the usual 20-25. That along with guys like Escobar and Prado with usual high averages, we will score a lot of runs this season. That’s not even thinking about guys like Heyward and Diaz in the mix in the OF.

Scott C

February 28th, 2010
10:45 am

You know what they say about older players getting bigger and stronger in the off season after a bad year. Sounds to me like someone needs to get tested

OPTIMIST

February 28th, 2010
10:48 am

Having McLouth and Prado in the Opening Day lineup this season will be a huge advantage over what we had a year ago ! A bonus if Heyward makes the team.

Clay

February 28th, 2010
11:12 am

Whew! I saw “tweak” in the title and thought, here we go again. Then I read the rest and saw “his swing” instead of his “oblique”, “lower back”, “thumb”, “hamstring”, etc.

Explicit

February 28th, 2010
11:45 am

Every time I read about players lifting hard and getting bigger I always fear that their swing will be slowed significantly because of the change in their body structure.

Hopefully that wont be the case for Chipper. It’s late in the game to be consciously changing what’s been working for you if you are Chipper so I hope this change doesn’t start to work negatively by getting into his head.

On the other hand if Chipper hits .350 this season then perhaps Larry Sr. should become everyones hitting coach.

Jim Sloan

February 28th, 2010
1:21 pm

Chipper HAS BEEN a great player, but for this year its not what you have done but what are you doing for the team now..Over that last few years the numbers are slipping,so what.
Yes the battling title was good. but how much did it really help the team. for the hr total
not many came with runners on base, it was fodder for the HOF not for team..
He has been paid very well for what nhe has done, but will be over paid now until RETIREMENT.
So I’m an idiot, stupid or what ever, but baseball and I have a long past. I was at Ponce de Leon park watching Enos “Country” Brown and the Crackers before some of you young-umks were in diapers.

Braves Freak

February 28th, 2010
1:42 pm

He is a Disabled Veteran….its time to go last year was the beginning of his down cline its time to go don’t hang on too long a ruin ur name like so many others do

wjones

February 28th, 2010
1:49 pm

“Lew

February 28th, 2010
10:20 am
wjones-We need a blog DFA policy, don’t we?”

Amen, Brother!

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

February 28th, 2010
2:23 pm

Wish there were more players as self-motivated as Chipper Jones.

They had to PAY Bob Horner to not be fat. Remember the weigh-ins?

Horner was great; the only thing he could swing faster than a bat, was a fork.

sincecapt.mathews

February 28th, 2010
2:59 pm

Dang! The myriad of blogs proves to be more of an opportunity for the “dirty trick” want to be’s, the negative twit-head moaners and the cry-baby marys to spread their woe.
“10″ will hang from the bleachers and my grandson will ask “who wore 10″ and that’s when i get to say it was someone who overcame broke legs and position changes to still be slinging dirt,sweat and spit till he was 40 and never missed an opportunity to help his team win championships and game wins while sticking a ball down someone’s throat while they screamed “larry”. Go Chipper! Go Bravos

pat

February 28th, 2010
3:24 pm

Chipper will have a good season. Forget the weights, is ego won’t allow him to suck 2 years in a row.

pat

February 28th, 2010
3:25 pm

dap01

February 28th, 2010
3:52 pm

Great article DOB. I hope that Cox will systematically give Chipper a day off, in order to keep Chipper fresh and healthy.

Dr. Scholls

February 28th, 2010
8:11 pm

I’m curious to know if Chipper’s “bad dogs” can carry all this new weight. I hope he’s not top heavy and did some leg work.

Mark (a different one)

March 1st, 2010
1:16 pm

I missing this year’s spring training due to finances and appreciate the updates. As for Chipper and his approach, I love to watch him work on hitting, and having two knowledgeable people assist him is smart. His Dad knows his swings (yes he has two) and has worked with him for years, and TP will be with him all year. The two of them working with Chipper during spring training may help with maintaining consistency over the entire season.

If nothing else, Chipper’s history should cut him some slack. I don’t see Bobby or TP whining. They want Chipper doing his thing and he gets the freedom to work through any issues.

Mark Biles

March 1st, 2010
2:04 pm

Just glad we won’t have Schaffer’s leadoff automatic strikeouts to deal with in the first half of the year this year as we did in 09.

Lee

March 2nd, 2010
9:26 am

Hopefully he can hit .350 with 40 hr, play 150 games and be in the top 25% of defensive 3rd baseman. That would be a decent ROI. If we don’t think he can do that…then why are we paying him so much?

Clip file 3.2.10 — NYFSBlogs

March 2nd, 2010
10:03 am

[...] a one-year, $7 million deal with Atlanta, with a vesting option for 2011. … Chipper Jones is stronger His father is his personal hitting [...]

Fred

March 2nd, 2010
11:35 am

Did it not strike anyone else as odd that once again a Braves slugger has turned outside the organization for a hitting coach? While you can overlook Frency we have seen McCain repeatedly turn to his Dad and now Chipper. When will the Braves deal with the elephant in the room – T.P.? I can only assume they are keeping this sub-par hitting coach around as the heir-apparent to Bobby Cox.

Marty

March 2nd, 2010
2:02 pm

Love Chipper and his work ethic. I hope this works for him but his comment about being the “heaviest he has ever been” worries me because of his history of foot and leg problems. I wonder what toll the extra weight (even if it is muscle) will have on the legs.

OSCAR BENITEZ

March 2nd, 2010
6:07 pm

OK CHIPPER I SEE VERY HEALTHY LEST SEE 2010 GOOD LUCK AND REACH ALL GOALS

[...] Jones, who recently was quoted by David O’Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution (click here for the article) as saying, “I’m as heavy now as I’ve ever been. I felt like I [...]

BIOMASS

March 2nd, 2010
10:08 pm

Chip’s on PED’s. Probably HGH, as there is still no testing for it in MLB.

Woopido, go braves……

RC

March 3rd, 2010
9:49 am

BIOMASS’S on PDD’s (Peformance Dehancing Drugs). Probably weed. Still no testing for it on the blogosphere.

Jared

March 3rd, 2010
4:44 pm

You people that are acting surprised at Chipper having his father as his hitting coach obviously haven’t been following the Braves very long. Chipper’s Dad has been his true hitting coach for his entire career. They talk on the phone throughout the year. Who could possibly know his swing any better than his Dad, having been a baseball player, coach and now the father of a 1st ballot HOFer.

McCann is the same way. Dad is a coach and hitting instructor and knows his sons’ swing inside and out.

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