Originally created 04/21/00

Braves notes: Jones frustrated with right-handed swing

ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones played in 157 games last year, collecting 567 at-bats. Only three times, once in April and twice in August, did he have an 0-for-5 evening.

The reigning National League MVP did it Wednesday night, dropping his average to .273 and leaving him feeling frustrated with his right-handed swing.

"I'll pull an 0-for-5 every so often left-handed, but I don't do it very often right-handed," he said Thursday. "I think the number of (right-handed) at-bats I got in spring training has caught up with me."

Jones, who hit .308 left-handed last year, is parked at .256 this season. He's hitting .333 right-handed, but has only 12 at-bats from that side. He's not normally a slow starter (.308 career average in April) and he's not concerned about his first two weeks. Jones lost three homers to strong winds in Chicago and Milwaukee and figures his RBI total should be doubled.

"I'm a little disappointed with the results I've gotten," he said. "I feel great at the plate, almost too good. I feel almost every pitch that's thrown up there I'll hit hard somewhere."


After playing his first game since opening day, Brian Jordan reported to work Thursday with more than the usual aches and pains.

"I thought I was in reasonably good shape, but I'm sore," he said.

Jordan, who admitted some nervousness in his first at-bat, was 1-for-3 in his return and contributed a great diving catch in right field.

"That pumped me up," he said. "After that, I was relaxed."

But Jordan didn't emerge unscathed. He was hit on the right elbow by a Randy Wolf pitch in the sixth, then tweaked his knee when he came to an abrupt stop at second base in the eighth.

"Right on the funny bone, but it wasn't so funny," he said of Wolf's pitch. "My whole hand went numb. Welcome back."


With each win, Tom Glavine moves a step closer to 200 wins, a milestone only 95 pitchers in major league history have reached. With Wednesday's 10-1 win over the Phils, he's 3-0 this year and within 10 wins of 200.

"I do think about it," he said. "I'm really trying to guard against getting too far ahead of myself, but each win that goes by I know I'm getting closer to it."

Glavine, fourth on the franchise wins list behind Warren Spahn, Kid Nichols and Phil Niekro, may not reach 300 wins, but he has a good shot at 250. That total, plus his two Cy Young awards and four 20-win seasons, would give him the credentials needed for entrance into the Hall of Fame.

"At some point in time, I'll look at a list of guys who have achieved (200 wins) and it will hit home even more," Glavine said.


Hitting coach Merv Rettenmund stresses putting the ball in play, and his hitters have embraced his philosophy. After averaging 5.94 strikeouts per game last year, the Braves have the fewest strikeouts in the majors (73) and are averaging 5.2 whiffs per game.

"I don't think these guys should strike out a lot," Rettenmund said. "I would like to see our walks and our strikeouts even, but I don't think that's possible."

So far, the club's strikeout/walk ratio is 73/49.


Rudy Seanez reported some normal soreness Thursday after throwing in the bullpen Wednesday and likely will report to Class AA Greenville to make a rehab appearance Saturday. The reliever, on the disabled list since March 23 with a strained lateral muscle, is hopeful of being activated early next week.

"I just want to be able to have my control," he said. "I want velocity too, but I want to be able to put the ball where I want to. The rest will take care of itself."


Third base coach Ned Yost can't keep a smile off his face after his son, Ned, a catcher/outfielder at Marietta's Lassiter High, accepted a baseball scholarship to Georgia.

"I told him, `You've got an opportunity I never got a chance to do,' " the senior Yost said. "I get embarrassed sometimes, I'm so proud of him."

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com.


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