Chipper letting his instincts take over

METS 5, BRAVES 4

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. --- Chipper Jones took a long slide into second base to break up a double play and his only thought was that he wanted to be able to get up.

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Mets starter Chris Young pitched two shutout innings. The Braves took a big lead before the Mets came back for the 5-4 victory Sunday.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Mets starter Chris Young pitched two shutout innings. The Braves took a big lead before the Mets came back for the 5-4 victory Sunday.

It was Jones' first time on the field since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Aug. 10, an injury that ended his season and many people thought might end his career. But now the 38-year-old is playing strictly as a designated hitter, suiting up for what could be his final year in the major leagues, despite the pain in his knee.

It was a routine play in the Braves' 5-4 loss to the New York Mets, but it also sent notice that Jones is going full-throttle in what could be his last season.

"I am trying to take it easy, but once the regular season starts it all comes down to instinct," Jones said. "I thought it was a nice pretty slide, but it has to get to the point where I am not thinking about it all the time."

Jones said when he slid into second, he wasn't thinking at all about the injury. He was out, but he also broke up a double play that would have forced Freddie Freeman at first.

"That was a time when baseball just takes over," Jones said. "It's just natural instinct."

Jones said he felt some discomfort in his restructured knee last week but that it was feeling fine Sunday. He was 1 for 3 in his return to the lineup but said he didn't think he needed another at-bat and wasn't sure when he would play next.

The Braves will play host to Houston today.

Jones has another year left in his career as he closes in on 2,500 hits. He is 10 away from the milestone.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he isn't worried about Jones and his knee.

"Chipper has been injured before," he said. "He broke up a double play and it surprised me the way he went in there. It was a great baseball play and I'm not worried."

The Braves jumped out to a 4-0 lead, knocking around Mets pitcher Oliver Perez for four runs in two innings. Perez also walked three.

Chris Young started for the Mets and threw two shutout innings. The Mets scored two runs in the sixth inning on a two-run double from Daniel Murphy, and they went ahead, 5-4, in the eighth inning with a three-run homer from Russ Adams off of Scott Proctor.

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