Chipper Jones met with Braves officials Tuesday to discuss retiring at the end of the season.
He acknowledged as much to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution but said any announcement wouldn’t come until “at some point during the home stand.”
The Braves opened a six-game home stand against the Rays and Royals to this sudden news that their 16-year veteran third baseman had called a meeting with Braves manager Bobby Cox, general manager Frank Wren and president John Schuerholz.
“We talked to Chipper today,” Cox told reporters several hours before the game. “…He’s been thinking about this all spring, last winter about this would be his last year. Until he talks to you people I really can’t say right now.”
Jones first acknowledged retirement was his motivation for calling the meeting to three reporters, including one from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as he entered Turner Field Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s obvious it’s something I’ve been thinking about, and that’s that,” Jones said.
He did not formally meet with the media.
“I need to go through the proper channels,” Jones said. “Once those have been taken care of, everyone’s questions will be answered.”
Jones was asked if issues to “take care of” had to do with settling finances. He has two years and $28 million left on his contract. “That’s fair to say,” he said.
Jones, 38, first brought up the idea of retiring at the end of the 2010 last year amid his struggles at the plate. His problems have continued into this season as Jones, entering Tuesday’s game hitting only .228 with three home runs, just two years after winning the National League batting title.
Jones has brought up the idea of calling it quits after the 2010 season in recent weeks but until now it wasn’t considered serious.
His father Larry Wayne Jones Sr., who was in town for Tuesday night’s game, realizes he’s serious about it now.
“He talked to me about it about three or four months ago and I said, ‘Don’t made a decision based on how you feel right now, give it a chance,’” Larry Jones said. “And I’ve run out of ‘give it a chance.’ He’s a grown man. He’s 38 years old now…“I’m good with the fact that the end is near. I just hope the end comes with him playing well.”
Cox, for one, thinks Jones could still change his mind if he gets going at the plate again.
“Anybody that’s used to hitting .300 it wears on them some,” Cox said of the career .307-hitting Jones. “I personally think he can still contribute…If he gets going and hits .350 the rest of the way, I think (if I were him) I would change my mind.”
Since winning the National League batting title by hitting .364 in 2008, Jones’ offensive numbers have tailed off and he’s faced a steady stream of nagging injuries.
He missed seven of 11 games on the Braves recent road trip with a sore ring finger that has ailed him for several weeks.
Jones has talked openly this season about his willingness to surrender his third spot in the Braves order to rookie phenom Jason Heyward and lately has leant his support for backups Omar Infante and Brooks Conrad filling in at third base in his absence.
Jones was back in the lineup at third base for Tuesday night’s game.
AJC staffers Jeff Schultz, Curtis Compton and Chris Vivlamore contributed information to this report.