JUPITER, Fla. – Chipper Jones said there was no chance he would retire before or during the 2012 season and that his comments to reporters Monday were misinterpreted.
The veteran Braves third baseman said Monday that because of pain in his right knee, “tomorrow might be my last day” and “I don’t know if I can make it through this year.”
On Tuesday, he said those comments were not meant to be taken literally, that he said them “somewhat tongue in cheek” after being asked about his future and whether he’d continue playing behind 2012.
Jones said he was only trying to emphasize that due to his chronic knee pain, his career beyond 2012 was uncertain. But not his status for the upcoming season.
“I will make it through tomorrow as well as this year,” Jones said Tuesday, upset that published reports with his quotes set off concern among family and friends.
“I would never walk out on my team during the season, much less in spring training,” said Jones, a career-long Brave who will be 40 on April 24.
He is considered one of the greatest switch-hitters and third basemen in major league history, and perhaps a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Jones missed five consecutive games with soreness after playing in the Braves’ Grapefruit League opener, then played the past four days in a row before getting a rest Tuesday. He is 0-for-8 with three walks and one strikeout.
He said he felt better at the plate Monday against the Cardinals.
“I hit a couple of balls on the barrel, so I’m starting to catch up,” he said. “If I can start consistently barreling 95 [mph] then I’ll know… I’m not having trouble laying off change-ups and sliders and stuff like that. I’m having trouble centering them. And once you get ‘on’ 95, the rest kind of follows.”