Chipper expected to be present for Saturday’s workout
One day after The Hammer made an appearance, The Crime Dog arrived to get a taste of Spring Training. But as the Braves began their first full-squad workout on Friday afternoon, Chipper Jones was not present to begin his stint as a guest instructor.
“He’s late by the way,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez playfully said. “He’s going to have to go further back on the back fields to hit fungoes. Wait until he hears about his locker situation. He’s a rookie coach. He’s got to go by the bathroom and share a locker.”
While Fred McGriff started his stint as a guest instructor on Friday, Jones will wait until Saturday before he puts the Braves uniform back on for the first time since he retired at the end of last season. Jones’ agent B.B. Abbott said the former Braves third baseman will arrive in the Orlando area on Friday night.
“(McGriff) is ready to go,” Gonzalez said. “I asked him if he wanted to face Venters or Kimbrel and he said, ‘nah, I’m good.’”
Over the course of the next four days, Jones will interact with his former teammates and simply get another taste of Spring Training. Last week, he said that he decided to attend after being asked by Braves president John Schuerholz, general manger Frank Wren and Gonzalez.
“He might want to take a little batting practice, who knows? Hank Aaron said while visiting Braves camp on Friday “He was hitting pretty well when he left here. We might need him for a pinch hitter or something.”
This prompted reason to ask Aaron how he felt when he returned to Spring Training in 1977, the year after he retired.
“I went on the Minor League camp and took batting practice,” Aaron said. “I was still hitting them out. I don’t know if I could have done that in a game. But I was still hitting them. You miss it a little bit. I gradually got out of it. I’m sure Chipper will find a lot of things to do. He had a great career. The one thing about him is he finished his career in the same uniform. It’s just a matter of time before he gets put in the Hall of Fame.”
NOTES: Outfielder Jose Constanza and right-handed pitcher Wirfin Obispo were still in the Dominican Republic on Friday because of visa problems…Because of team physicals, the Braves will begin their workouts on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. ET…Brian McCann will get a better sense of where he is in the rehab process after he is evaluated during his physical. McCann will likely miss the season’s first two weeks as he recovers from right shoulder surgery.