Braves camp: Chipper’s return, Uggla’s debut, Cox’s ejection

Chipper Jones chats with hitting coach Larry Parrish before today's game.

Chipper Jones (with coach Larry Parrish) before today's game.

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 SaturdayAlex 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.

Yes, he was even thrown out of a spring game.

Tossed from a spring game?

♦ 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.

The umpire?

“Durwood Merrill.

The play?

“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

Other posts from Braves’ camp

Braves hoping to recreate chemistry from 2010 season

So what does Freddie Freeman (3 doubles) do for an encore?

Digi-Blog goes to Braves’  spring training at Disney (they charge, I don’t)

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

67 comments Add your comment

Tucker T

February 27th, 2011
10:58 am

Got any sun yet Jeff?

The Dude Abides

February 27th, 2011
10:59 am

Dang i was almost first

SoCalBrave

February 27th, 2011
11:05 am

Chipper will go 1 for 3 with a single and will play errorless defense!

SoCalBrave

February 27th, 2011
11:06 am

and yes, I know he’s our DH today.

Ted M

February 27th, 2011
11:09 am

Part of the reason he is doing it is for the money…nothin’ wrong with that.

Sonny Clusters

February 27th, 2011
11:14 am

We will predict that swinging that heavy bat will be harder for Chipper at 39. Some great players switched to lighter lumber in their waning years. Jeff, will you broach the subject with Chipper? Also, ask him about his sore toes and if he’s still wearing two pairs of socks under the Mizunos.

Tucker T

February 27th, 2011
11:15 am

It’s a lot of money. He would be a fool to walk away from it but I don’t think it’s the main reason he wants to come back. It’s mainly pride.

justin1

February 27th, 2011
11:18 am

Chris Martin likes men.

SoCalBrave

February 27th, 2011
11:25 am

Sunny, he has switched to a lighter bat this year.

Joey

February 27th, 2011
11:34 am

So . . . if it’s about pride, if Chipper hits .180 the first 3 months, will he ask to be moved down in the order, or stop cashing the $85,000 per game paychecks?

No. It’s always about the money.

Especially when they say it’s not about the money . . .

Brian the Brain

February 27th, 2011
11:39 am

Would the AJC be interested in going back and watching all of Bobby Cox’s ejections to try and determine how many times he was “right”? Or be willing to pay me to do it :-) ?

SoCalBrave

February 27th, 2011
11:45 am

Joey, you’d be stupid to say money has nothing to do with it, but his main reason is pride. He wants to go out on his own terms. If the braves win it all, or if he struggles throughtout the year, he’ll retire even though he has another year left in his contract.

SimpleDawg

February 27th, 2011
11:51 am

Good stuff, Jeff.

Please let Chipper know that the vast majority of us support him in his comeback, and we know it’s not about money. We’re glad he’s been with the Braves his entire career…..and at some point in the future, we would like to see him as the Braves manager.

Rock on, Chipper!

Younger Than That Now

February 27th, 2011
12:02 pm

No “boney bleached knees” today Schultzie?!?

G. Tampa Bedwetter

February 27th, 2011
12:02 pm

Chipper who?

D A DoubleU G

February 27th, 2011
12:19 pm

The only sure bet in Sports is the 90% chance UGA skull-thumps Tech on the football field.

GO DAWGS!!!

Alan

February 27th, 2011
12:31 pm

Joey-

Last season when he was struggling he said that he’d move down in the order and let heyward hit three it was cox’s decision to keep him at three. He did start hitting probably would have ended up at a respectable .280 clip if he hadnt had tore his acl.

No matter how he does today its remarkable that hes coming back after 8 months. One more thing if it was about the money he woldn’t have pushed himself in rehab to make it back in time for camp. He could literaly sit on his A.. and make the same amount of money. I cant stand ungrateful braves fans especially after all he’s given us.

HPSP

February 27th, 2011
12:32 pm

How’s the tan, Jeff?

Prognosticator

February 27th, 2011
12:40 pm

1-2 with a walk. (Two on base results)

Larry

February 27th, 2011
12:47 pm

It 100% for the money!

The Braves (and Chipper knows this) are a better overall team with Prado at 3rd, McLouth in left and Schafer in center…and Chipper on a deer stand in Texas! Chipper hanging on for the checks weakens the team defense and offense as you have a liability with Chipper at 3rd, Prado out of position and a future star and our perfect lead-off hitter in Schafer possibly on the bench.

Make the tough call Gonzalez–your predecessor never could!

Larry

February 27th, 2011
12:52 pm

Just take a peep at Chipper’s waistline in the above photo and ask yourself if he is more committed to be a professional athlete and weather the July and August heat, or for those “fat” checks that come with all the free food he can consume and the Braves Clubhouse Buffet?

Can we please move on from this Bobby Cox fat, dumb and lazy era?

"Chef" Tim Dix

February 27th, 2011
12:58 pm

Chipper will have the most decerning eye and the sweetest swing on both teams.

Rich T

February 27th, 2011
12:59 pm

The only reason I do my job is for the money.

Dr. Phil

February 27th, 2011
1:00 pm

I have not liked Chipper Jones since I saw him refuse to look up for a kid with a camera who wanted his picture from the dugout seats, and I remember Chipper pulling up on that foul ball he could have caught that led to the marathon game with Houston that started the Braves’ decline in 2005. Contrast that play with Jeter diving into the stands for a foul. Just because Chipper isn’t my favorite person, doesn’t mean he is not a great baseball player. If Chipper has a good year in 2011, they Braves will play in October. I wish him well and hope he goes out a winner. He has been a key part of the Braves’ success in the 90’s and later.

Sonny Clusters

February 27th, 2011
1:03 pm

If your best friend was a deer . . .

"Chef" Tim Dix

February 27th, 2011
1:06 pm

Amazing the sporting feces on the tube this afternoon. Ted would have had CNN doing round the clock coverage of the Great Jones return.

scott

February 27th, 2011
1:17 pm

Braves suck. Poor owners, a nobody manager and a bunch of has beens and never will-bes. This will be their worst season in 25 years.

Jeff Schultz

February 27th, 2011
1:18 pm

Chipper’s first spring at-bat: called third strike on full count. He had started to go to first for a walk.

Baseballer

February 27th, 2011
1:23 pm

Is the game on radio?

"Chef" Tim Dix

February 27th, 2011
1:24 pm

baseballer: no

Vain Jangling

February 27th, 2011
1:31 pm

Yeah, if someone says, “It’s not about the money,” it’s almost always about the money. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Chipper’s gonna give his best effort, for the 90-110 games he’s likely to play. Me? I’ll take what they pay me. Well, I have to. I’m self-employed.

Robert

February 27th, 2011
1:32 pm

“Would the AJC be interested in going back and watching all of Bobby Cox’s ejections to try and determine how many times he was “right”? ”

If you understand how baseball is played and officiated, you realize that the umpires are, by definition, always right.

Umpires are human beings, and can make mistakes – but it matters not. Their mistakes are part of the game. In other words, the call is what they say it is. Always. Period, end of story

Therefore, Cox was NEVER right in arguing with the umps. Not once. Not ever. Not a single time.

There is no more useless unproductive and perhaps counterproductive thing that any player, coach, or manager can do during a baseball game than to argue with the umpires. Cox showed his stupidity in his passion for arguing with umps. I think he believed he was going to get them to change their mind. What an abject idiot

I love the picture you posted of Cox. (I love it because he is NOT in a Braves uniform)

bfraane1s

February 27th, 2011
1:36 pm

Baseballer – if you’re in the Atlanta area you can listen on 680AM or 93.7 FM.

Jeff Schultz

February 27th, 2011
1:46 pm

Martin Prado just singled in a run to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. By the way, if you check out @JeffSchultzAJC on Twitter (or my Facebook page) I just posted a photo of a secret scout at the game.

Jeff Schultz

February 27th, 2011
1:55 pm

For those not listening to game, Chipper just opened the fourth inning with a first-pitch single to left.

drbasic1

February 27th, 2011
2:09 pm

is the game on radio today?

psubravesfan

February 27th, 2011
2:16 pm

drbasic1– im listening to it from germany on the internet 730 am the ump out of athens ga. hope that helps

Larry

February 27th, 2011
2:17 pm

Jeff,

Did Chipper pull out a snickers bar on his way to first?

Larry

February 27th, 2011
2:18 pm

Robert,

Touché!

SoCalBrave

February 27th, 2011
2:24 pm

thanks for the updates Jeff!

Sonny Clusters

February 27th, 2011
2:29 pm

Clusters are listening to the game on 93.7 FM. You should, too.

count_schemula

February 27th, 2011
2:33 pm

If you understand how baseball is played and officiated, you realize that a whole lot of Cox’s ejections were moves to keep starting players or pitchers from getting ejected. Sure, the call is rarely, if ever, overturned, but it’s also a tactic to let the umps know you are watching some particular aspect of their game and maybe give you a certain call later on in the game. It’s politics and it’s a part of the game.

count_schemula

February 27th, 2011
2:34 pm

If you only go to your job for a paycheck, you are not happy in your work. Let passion drive what you do and the money will follow.

Sonny Clusters

February 27th, 2011
2:34 pm

Since the Braves traded away Escobar there aren’t that many good candy bar names on the team. Nobody’s going to want to buy an Ugglabar. We was wondering if there was any minor leaguers with candy bar names? Oh! Henry is already taken. The McLouthbar will never catch on. Like the McRib but worse. How many will Willie Harris score today?

count_schemula

February 27th, 2011
2:42 pm

Could call the bar “Oh Uggla!.”

count_schemula

February 27th, 2011
2:43 pm

Grounder in right side hole, and it’s off his glove for a hit. That’s when I reach for my “Oh Uggla!” bar. I kid. I kid. Sort of.

The Rock

February 27th, 2011
2:49 pm

@Baseballer,

You can get the game @ http://www.wfan.com. It’s the Mets broadcast.

"Chef" Tim Dix

February 27th, 2011
2:49 pm

How bout the KawakamiKaramel? It melts in the first inning.

Sonny Clusters

February 27th, 2011
2:56 pm

Or, if it’s old and brittle . . . Oh, Chipper. Sorry, we was too weak to resist doing that. McCanndy might be something they could promote. With Bobby retired maybe they could name something really sticky for him.

Sonny Clusters

February 27th, 2011
2:56 pm

Who’s at short?