|ESPN.com: Spring 2013||[Print without images]|
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Chipper Jones hears the talk, the whispers, the rumblings out there that if the Atlanta Braves need him in June, he's a poetic comeback story waiting to happen. His response Monday to that kind of talk: "It's not gonna happen."
A few months after his farewell tour around the National League concluded with an emotional tribute in Atlanta, Jones is back in uniform this spring, that familiar No. 10 on his back -- but not to lay the groundwork for any midseason comebacks.
Jones is serving as a guest hitting instructor for a few days. And that, he said, will be the last time we see him put on a uniform this season -- in any role.
"I'm well-adjusted, and there's no going back," said Jones, who turns 41 in April. "I've had my time and I don't think people really realize what kind of preparation it takes to get yourself ready to play this game at this level."
Just over the last two seasons alone, Jones had surgeries on both knees and missed time because of issues with his back, thigh, legs, feet, groin and abdomen. He needed to spend hours in the trainer's room and gym, trying to get himself in condition to play. And he said on Monday, loud and clear, that he has no interest in going through any of that again.
"I'd have to start working out now to get ready for June," he said with a laugh, "and that's not gonna happen."The Braves, meanwhile, will honor Jones on June 28 by inducting him into the Braves Hall of Fame and retiring his uniform number. "Chipper was a Brave from the beginning to the end of his career and his legacy will forever live in our record books," said Braves president John Schuerholz in a statement. "There is no greater honor that we can bestow upon him than to induct him into our Hall of Fame and retire his iconic number 10."