After the Braves’ season ended with a five-game skid and no postseason berth, Chipper Jones reiterated his intention of returning for the 2012 season.
Jones said the team’s September collapse would have no bearing on his decision.
“I’ve committed to playing next year,” he said. “I won’t commit past that; let’s put it that way. [But] I’m looking forward to it. As tough a pill as it is to swallow, for a lot of these young guys it’s a learning experience.
“We got our butts kicked for the last couple of weeks of the season, and they’re going to learn a lot from it and be better ballplayers for it.”
Jones, 39, came back from season-ending knee surgery in August 2010 to hit .275 with 33 doubles, 18 homers and 70 RBIs in 126 games in 2011, despite being slowed much of the season by knee and leg injuries.
He spent three weeks on the disabled list after arthroscopic knee surgery in July.
His .344 on-base percentage was a career low, 61 points off his career OBP before the season. However, his 33 doubles were his second-most since 2003, and he hit .305 with nine homers and a .905 on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) in his last 42 games.
Jones has one season left on a three-year, $42 million contract extension, and will turn 40 on April 24.
His contract also includes a $9 million option for 2013 that vests automatically if he plays in 123 games next season or averages 127 games over 2011-2012, but Jones has not indicated a desire to play beyond 2012.