It was widely reported yesterday (Though not on Braves 101; that was our fault) that Chipper Jones had said he may not make it through tomorrow with the Atlanta Braves. He clarified on Tuesday that those comments were meant in jest.
“Tomorrow might be my last day,” Jones told ajc.com. “I don’t know. I don’t really focus on it that much. The body is starting to tell me every morning when I wake up that it’s getting close. I’m signed through the end of this year. If I play in a certain amount of games, I got an option for next year. I don’t know what next year entails.
“I don’t know if I can make it through this year.”
Braves.com now reports that Jones freely admitted saying, "I don't know if I can make it through this year" to two national reporters after playing eight innings in the Braves' loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. He also said the tone was misunderstood.
"Unfortunately, I said it around two guys who don't know me very well, and they didn't realize I was kidding around," Jones said. "One of the guys asked, 'You think you can make it through the season with your knees?' I said, 'Make it through the season, I don't know if I can make it through tomorrow.' Obviously, I'm joking. That's an obvious joke. Really, I just came off the field after playing eight innings. I've had eight at-bats all spring. I was kidding around.
"It was tongue in cheek. I was kidding. I just got done playing eight innings with three at-bats. I was a little tired. I wasn't by any means suggesting I couldn't make it through the season. If I didn't think that I could, I wouldn't be out there."
Jones, who turns 40 next month, is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, though it has vesting options for games played. His knees have been an issue the past couple of seasons after blowing out his ACL in August 2010 and tearing his meniscus last season.
He also seemed to get more perturbed about his comments being taken out of context.
"If there was any question about whether I could make it through the season or not, I would not have come back [to play this year]," Jones said. "I will not only make it through tomorrow, I will make it through this season with no problem."
Though Chipper has yet to register a hit so far in Spring Training and missing four consecutive days with leg soreness, he also played five straight days before resting on Tuesday.
"I'm not struggling," Jones said. "I've played four days in a row. How am I struggling? I can't remember the last time I played four days in a row in Spring Training. I'm struggling? I'm playing fine.
"I'm a little behind now with bat speed. But I barreled a couple balls [Monday], and I'm catching up. Once I get locked in on [95-mph fastballs], everything else will fall in place. Defensively, I'm fine. I am where I need to be at the point in Spring Training."
With the offense scoring next to no runs this spring, Braves fans can only hope Chipper is a figment of his old self.
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