Chipper Jones will return to the Atlanta Braves spring training facilities on Sunday (February 17th) as a guest instructor after 22 years of coming down to Florida as either the Braves star or top prospect. After only four months of being away from the sport, and supposedly not picking up a baseball since the wildcard game, the #10 will be back on the field.
The Braves have been bringing back retired players for years, Phil Niekro, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy and Tom Glavine to name a few, but never this quick since retirement. Jones current plan is to stay at spring training four or five days. He’s claimed he’s enjoying the time off and hasn’t thought about a return to professional baseball but what if the time with his teammates shoots waves through his head about a possible return….
BEFORE READING FURTHER, THIS IS ABSOLUT SPECULATION
Following the All-Star break, the Braves are in a head-to-toe race with the Washington Nationals for the NL East division. Atlanta is having another promising season with Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton, Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons all having great early months while Brian McCann and Dan Uggla are both smashing the ball like they used to. The Braves have tried Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson at third base but no true production is coming from either.
This is the year, leading the league record wise but only behind division foe Washington. The Braves need an extra spark to jump this rival to not have to worry about that stupid wild card game again.
Jones while sitting at home enjoying the first part of the season, realizes he could help the team and begins to work out. Taking all of July as his spring training month, he shows back up in August wearing that famed #10 jersey. I don’t see him coming back and playing everyday but how about four times a week and coming off the bench as a pinch hitter.
He showed last season he still has the ability to hit, the Braves should embrace this idea and send team captains, managers, gm’s; anyone to entice Chipper to suit up once more.
I realize when everyone reads this, they will think of a Brett Farve situation but I don’t see it that way. Jones wouldn’t be dangling the ball above a cat’s head; he’s a 40-year-old man whose body didn’t want him going through another full season. Coming back for a half season, a playoff run and to winning the World Series, Jones will leave baseball in 2013 for good with another ring on his finger.