New York – Chipper Jones was surprised to hear former teammate Brian Jordan call him out on a nationally syndicated radio show when Jordan said the veteran third baseman should train harder and stretch more to avoid injuries.
“Until I talk to B.J. I’m going to have to reserve judgment,” said Jones, who returned to the Braves’ lineup Sunday after leaving Saturday’s game with a sore right hip.
“B.J.’s not a switch-hitter, so he doesn’t go through the same things I do. B.J. doesn’t know what I do in the offseason, doesn’t see my workout regimen. He’s not in here 24/7.”
Jordan, a broadcaster for Braves’ pregame and postgame shows and Triple-A Gwinnett TV games, said on a MLB Network Radio that he wasn’t sure if Jones, 38, was “dedicating himself” to staying healthy.
“He leaves you scratching your head because, you know, it’s been a problem, especially his obliques the last couple years,” Jordan said. “I think he just doesn’t think he’s aging.
“As you get older, you’ve got to work out a little harder to prevent injury and I’m not sure if he’s really dedicating himself, his body, to doing that, because I was really surprised to see that oblique injury pop up so early this season. [Jones recently missed three games with an oblique muscle strain in his side].
“He said he worked out, he got himself in better shape but, you know. I know the fans, I know myself … we’re all scratching our heads and we’re just crossing our fingers that he can stay healthy.”
Co-host Jim Bowden asked, “So, Brian, you think that he’s getting hurt because he’s not working out hard enough and staying in shape at his age?”
Jordan answered: “Uh, you know what, I really believe so. I think at some point when you start getting older, you really have to do the extra things. You’ve got to get in that whirlpool, you’ve got to stretch, and really work hard to keep your flexibility before you get out there on the field. And I’m not sure if he’s dedicating himself to doing that.
“He’s so used to — you know, I played with him so long — just sitting around and waiting for the game, and take a couple jogs and go play. But as you get older, you know, you cannot do that. You’ve gotta go the extra mile to be ready to play.”
Jones said, “I would have hated for something to be taken out of context and cause a big to-do over it. I’m sure that we’ll talk at some point. But I don’t even know why I was the topic of conversation to begin with. Doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Jordan was a Pro Bowl defensive back before switching full-time to baseball and playing 15 seasons through 2006. He played five years with the Braves in two stints, 1999-2001 and 2005-2006, then retired at 39.
Because of injuries, Jordan played more than 140 games only three times in his career, including a high of 153 games in 1999 for Atlanta.
“Yeah, I mean, for somebody who missed three times as many games as I have over a shorter period of time, it’s a little….” Jones said, without finishing the thought.
“And the thing about it is, I stretched every day for five months, and chasing a fly ball still tore my hamstring when I was playing left field [in April 2004]. So to get on my stretching program or whatever he was commenting on, doesn’t make any sense.
“When you play baseball at its highest level, and play it at the speed we play it, you’re going to get hurt. You’re going to have things go wrong. He’s right to a certain extent — as you get older, things are going to break down. But [Jordan's comments were] kind of out of left field, for me.”
Jones said after leaving Saturday’s game in the third inning that he expected to miss at least a few games. However, when he woke Sunday he said the hip felt better and that he could swing well enough from the left side to play.
He called hitting coach Terry Pendleton and told him, “Tell Bobby [Cox] that I’m in.”
Braves trainers told Jones that he likely has an inflamed bursa sac in the right hip.