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Chipper Jones: “I don’t know if I can make it through this year”

Mar 12, 2012, 8:27 PM EDT

Braves Spring baseball

Chipper Jones has hinted at retirement on numerous occasions over the past couple of seasons, but it’s hard to find a time where he was more gloomy about his outlook than he was earlier today.

After going hitless in three at-bats against the Cardinals to drop to 0-for-8 during Grapefruit League action, Jones told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s not sure how much longer his body will hold up.

“Tomorrow might be my last day,” he said “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.”

Jones, who turns 40 next month, acknowledged that his right knee is hurting more than he thought it would. This is the same knee which required arthroscopic surgery last July. And that’s not a good sign.

Jones is owed $14 million this season in the final guaranteed year of a three-year, $42 million contract. His deal includes a $7 million club option for 2013 which vests automatically if he plays at least 123 games this season. The future Hall of Famer appeared in 126 games last season while batting .275/.344/.470 with 18 homers, 70 RBI and an .814 OPS.

  1. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 12, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    If he retires because he doesn’t want to deal with all the pain that comes with being an almost 40 year old baseball player I wouldn’t hold anything against him. If its purely a performance thing I don’t think he should retire based on 8 spring training AB’s. Then again I’ve never been used to hitting .300 to go along with 30 homers at the MLB level so what the hell do i know.

    • skids003 - Mar 13, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      I hope he makes it through this one more season, and has a good one to go out on. Then he can hang it up, and I’m sure he will do so in a classy manner. It would be great for the Braves to win a World Series title for him to go out on. Thanks Chipper.

  2. cranbery - Mar 12, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    It breaks my heart to hear him speak this way………..and know the pain he must be in to do so.
    I will keep him in my prayers………..the Braves won’t be the Braves without Chipper. He is the Best!!!

    • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:43 PM

      Breaks your heart, what are you 12?

  3. bobulated - Mar 12, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    And from someone who has fought through a lot of pain and injuries to stay in the line-up over the years, that is a huge admission. After reading that I wouldn’t be surprised if he announced he was walking away from the game much sooner than the end of this season.

  4. eastcoastblows - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    He should be able to get at least 5 million out of the Yankees

  5. randygnyc - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Why wouldn’t chipper retire? He’s got nothing to gain. He’s got the money, stats and a future with the braves if he wants it. You’d figure that guys who have achieved so much wouldn’t want to embarrass themselves before hanging them up. That’s not even considering playing in pain.

    • paperlions - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:58 PM

      Maybe he just loves playing baseball, being around the game, and all that….when something is all you have known your entire adult life….walking away is hard.

  6. deadeyedesign23 - Mar 12, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    I dunno man…Chipper’s a tough bastard so if he’s being that vocal about it it must be pretty bad.

  7. petergammonsdrunknephew - Mar 12, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    He seems refreshingly sincere with comments like that. He may play all year, if he can. I don’t think he wants to hurt the team, but he doesn’t want to give up his passion for the game, either. The crazy thing is he’s still the Braves’ best option when he’s healthy.

  8. natisportsnut - Mar 12, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Hall of famer?

    • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM

      Absolutely!

    • nixonotis - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:27 AM

      Not really much of a discussion IMO.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 13, 2012 at 8:47 AM

      Nati: Your questioning his hall of fame credentials? Seriously?
      He’s in…take it to the bank.

    • 78mu - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      He’ll get more than 80% of the vote in his first year of eligibility.

  9. plmathfoto - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Seems like a cry for attention please! Listen I know the guy was/is a great player, but not sure about his brainpower nor motives. Witness that Met fans mocked him by chanting Larry at him (he hates to be called Larry). So what does he name his son? You guessed it, Larry!

    • nixonotis - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:29 AM

      HOF baseball players usually don’t have to “cry for attention.”

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:55 AM

        Right on nixonitis.

      • plmathfoto - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:10 PM

        what says you today?

    • Kevin S. - Mar 13, 2012 at 8:51 AM

      He also named one of his sons Shea. Somehow, I don’t think the Mets’ fans serenading him really got under his skin that much.

  10. cordellgc - Mar 13, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    people are so fast to through around the hall of fame tag on players that were better the good buy not HOF great, ie chipper andruw Jones, Carlos delgoto, pasada

    • rollinghighwayblues - Mar 13, 2012 at 1:37 AM

      Just stop.

    • paperlions - Mar 13, 2012 at 8:11 AM

      I can only assume you meant Andruw Janes and Chopper

      • aceshigh11 - Mar 13, 2012 at 8:28 AM

        Bwahahaha.

        Jesus, that guy wins “Award for Spelling Genocide” today.

    • thefalcon123 - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      Hmm…3rd baseman better than Chipper Jones…
      Well: Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Eddie Mathews…Wade Boggs is debatable…
      So, at least the 5th best 3rd baseman in baseball history is doesn’t deserve to go to the hall of fame?

      • maccars - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        You forgot Brooks Robinson – still, you’re right. Chipper stands among the best in the business. He’s a sure first ballot inductee.

  11. buffalomafia - Mar 13, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    Why don’t the Braves try to acquire David Wright from the Mets?

    • crash1582 - Mar 13, 2012 at 7:55 AM

      Because the are owned by a media company that views the team as an expense and not somebody that cars about winning a championship. I am a Braves Fan, enjoyed watching Chipper here in Richmond when he was 20 and in TripleA Ball, It’s been a good 2 decade run, and hard to find the likes of Chipper and Posada..etc who stay loyal to 1 team for most if not all of there carrear. Good luck Chip.

  12. Walk - Mar 13, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    When i left the army i felt a lot like chipper is feeling now. It was the hardest decision i have ever made. The little injuries just were not healing for me and the wear and tear was building up. I went from running 10k 5 times a week on my own on top of whatever unit pt we had to just barely making pt minimums to stay in service just from all injuries i had piling up. Chipper’s injuries over the years were almost all lower body or abdominal pains and those types add up limiting mobility. I did not play baseball after college so i cant really comment on how retiring baseball players act but chipper sounds to me like a soldier who has made up his mind to decline his next reenlistment. When he retires he will retire as the most consistent switch hitter i have ever seen. Last i looked most switch hitters favor one side or the other, chippers average was the closest i have ever seen to being equal so if he announces his retirement prior to start of season i would not be surprised but i will miss seeing him play.

  13. kevinbnyc - Mar 13, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    Some of the spelling/grammar in these comments is shocking

    • jimbo1949 - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      Enjoy your temporary feeling of superiority, knowing you’ve reduced your margin of error to nil.

  14. Walk - Mar 13, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Feel free to edit and repost if it bothers you enough that you feel the need to complain.

  15. pxeeks - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    There are 14 million reasons NOT to feel sorry for Chipper this year! Oh and Go Phillies!¡

  16. damnyankee13 - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    As much as the Braves fans may not like to hear this, It may be time . Chipper has had a great and illustrious career ranking up amongst the better players today and age is catching up to him, his skills are declining. I do hope that the Braves have a good replacement handy. The are a good and ell-run team.

  17. foreverchipper10 - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    I believe this is the last year we will see him on the diamond. I can’t see him hanging it up before the year or mid-season barring a serious injury. He wouldn’t just up and leave on the team at this point which would mean they would have to scramble to find someone to take his place. He won’t play every day. I see him getting 1-2 games off a week and maybe being a DH in the AL games.

    All that being said I need to get to a Braves game this year and see him play one last time. Then, in about 6 years time, I will go see him be inducted to Cooperstown. Both of those days will be emotional ones for any Braves fan. .

    • crash1582 - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Martin Prado is doing fairly well this spring training, and is more than capable at 3rd… Agreed it would be sad to see ol’ chipper go.. but hopefully a management decision is made toward this direction.

  18. chalkruz1989 - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Chipper Jones doesn’t have to stay around to please anyone. He’s the epitome of a professional and the fact that he stayed with the Atlanta Braves as long as he did just screams wonders to his loyalty. Jones and Scott Rolen will go down as the best and most excitable third baseman I watched during my years.

  19. carolinakid - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    It sux but Chipper you deserve to make that choice. As a Braves fan going back to the late ’70s and suffering through the mid to late ’80s. It is sad to see him go.
    I’m sure he will make the right decision for himself and the team.

    The days of Glavine, Smoltz, Maddog (Maddox),Chipper,Andrew, and even Furcal are long gone but not forgotten.

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