LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Good morning from camp sunshine, where the Braves play their second game of the spring after Saturday’s 5-5 tie with the New York Mets (and no, they didn’t go to a shootout). Here’s today’s plan:
♦ I’ll be posting a column later on Chipper Jones, who will play his first game (albeit unofficial) since suffering a torn ACL in his left knee Aug. 10. Jones will be the designated hitter and bat third today. I spoke to him this morning and he had some terrific and pointed comments about his comeback from surgery, particularly when I asked him about the fans — and you know who you are — who believe he is only doing this for the money. One thing I’ve always appreciated about Jones is his candor, and this morning’s interview was no exception.
♦ Catcher David Ross is sporting the short-pants, high socks look in batting practice as a tribute to Jones, though he doesn’t know if he’ll do it in the game.
♦ Second baseman Dan Uggla will make his Braves debut and bat cleanup. The lineup: Martin Prado (7), Jordan Schafer (8), Jones (DH), Uggla (4), Freddie Freeman (3) — he’s coming off a three-double game Saturday — Alex Gonzalez (6), Ross (2), Joe Mather (9), Shawn Bowman (5). Today’s Braves’ pitchers: Rodrigo Lopez, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy, Peter Moylan, Scott Proctor, Jairo Asencio.
♦ Schafer’s name actually was misspelled as “Shafer” on the board in the clubhouse. I assume the organization was not trying to send him a subliminal message.
♦ Among those in attendance: retired manager Bobby Cox, who says he will be sitting with his wife, Pam, watching a game “for the first time since we’re married.”
Some funny stuff from Cox. He didn’t attend the Braves’ spring opener in Port St. Lucie Saturday, But he went to the shopping mall with his wife and made frequent trips out to the parking lot to listen to the game on satellite radio. Clearly, this isn’t an easy transition.
As you know, Cox won the Golden Thumb award in his career with 159 ejections. This morning, he admitted he also was once thrown out of a spring training game.
“The first game in my first spring with Toronto [in 1982],” he said.
“It was a play a second base. We were stealing and he called him out. Obviously he was safe. … I went out there and he said, ‘Cox, I’ll eat you alive.’”
Sorry. I just can’t get enough of these old stories.
That’s it for now. Check back later for the column on Chipper. Any body want to make any predictions on his return today?
By Jeff Schultz
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