VIERA, Fla. — Chipper Jones putting on pinstripes?
The New York Yankees would love to have him. General manager Brian Cashman even said so Monday, expressing interest in the retired Atlanta Braves star.
“He’d be perfect,” Cashman said at Yankees’ camp in Tampa. “I’d take Larry in a heartbeat. I think everybody would.”
The eight-time All-Star third baseman – better known by his nickname than actual first name – quickly ended such talk.
“Enough with the rumors!” Jones tweeted. “While I am flattered about the speculation of being enticed out of retirement, I’m happy with life as a bad golfer!”
Pretty much what everyone figured.
“I can imagine a lot of things in baseball,” Braves coach and former third baseman Terry Pendleton said, “but Chipper playing for the Yankees isn’t one of them.”
“I think you’d have a lot of people in Atlanta pretty mad if that happened. He’s a man of his word and he says he’s done,” he said.
“But it might help the Yankees with their attendance. I think a lot of Mets fans would come over to Yankee Stadium to boo him.”
Still, it was a fun thought — Jones and Derek Jeter together on the left side of the infield. At least for a minute.
“He has the utmost respect for the Yankees’ organization, but his legacy is and will always be with the Braves,” Jones’ agent, B.B. Abbott, told The Associated Press in a text message.
Jones bowed out last fall after playing all 19 seasons in Atlanta, hitting .303 with 468 home runs. A month shy of turning 41, Jones recently spent a few days at spring training with his old team.
In a jam because of injuries, Cashman just threw out the idea.
“I needed to check it off my list. I had to exorcise that demon,” he said. “I got my answer quick — like 30 minutes,” he said.
The Yankees are on the prowl, however. They are missing third baseman Alex Rodriguez, sidelined until July or longer after hip surgery, and first baseman Mark Teixeira, out until May because of a strained tendon in his right wrist.
Newcomer Kevin Youkilis can play either corner infield spot, but not at the same time. He made his first spring training start at first base on Monday against St. Louis.
A more realistic option is 37-year-old Derrek Lee, who hasn’t played since 2011, when he hit .267 with 19 homers and 59 RBIs for Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Cashman talked to Lee and the first baseman appeared to be intrigued.
“It’s an out-of-the-box thought,” Cashman said. “I just know that he was a Yankee-type of player. If he was game, I bet he still has game.”
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” he said.
Exactly, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
“Never any harm in asking Chipper,” he said before Atlanta played Washington. “But, uh, no.”