Originally created 06/11/04

Jones' father to the rescue



DETROIT - Chipper Jones' struggles as a left-handed hitter have officially reached critical status.

The Atlanta Braves' slugger is flying his father to Chicago this weekend to work with him on his swing.

Larry Jones has often come to his son's aid during slumps throughout his 11-year major league career.

Jones is batting .225 this season. A switch hitter, he's hitting .210 from the left side.

"The right side is easier because it's my natural side," said Jones, who's been in the lineup as the designated hitter the past three games because of a hamstring injury. "Left-handed I have a lot of moving parts. It's about timing. It doesn't take much for me to be a little off. Unfortunately right now, I'm off."

Jones is confident his father can help. Larry Jones knows his son's swing better than anyone and often produces results.

"I'm just hoping he can help me get one on the barrel," Chipper Jones said. "I haven't hit one on the barrel in a long time."

Jones caught two pitches flush batting right-handed in the Detroit series. He hit a 453-foot home run in the sixth inning Wednesday and a 448-foot home run in the first inning Thursday.

Wednesday's blast was the longest in Comerica Park history, and Thursday's was the third longest. The ballpark opened in 2000.

CHANGE IN PLANS: The rain that delayed Wednesday night's game also interrupted the Braves' pitching rotation.

Starter John Thomson threw only 25 pitches before the deluge and did not return after the 2-hour, 24-minute delay.

Thomson will start Saturday's game as a result, taking Travis Smith's spot in the rotation.

Mike Hampton is still scheduled to start Sunday, but he's spent the past two days in the training room with a badly bruised biceps on his throwing arm.

The Braves named Paul Byrd as the starter for Monday's Hall of Fame game against the Minnesota Twins in Cooperstown, N.Y.

AROUND THE DIAMOND: Dewayne Wise braved Thursday morning's wet weather to get in a short workout before the series finale against the Tigers. Wise, who strained his hamstring while running the bases Tuesday night, said his hamstring felt much better.

Eli Marrero started in left field Thursday for the second straight game. Marrero homered in Wednesday's game. ... J.D. Drew went hitless in the Detroit series. The right-fielder, who entered series as the Braves' hottest hitter, went 0-for-10.

Duane Burleson/Associated PhotoChipper Jones' 453-foot home run, the longest at Comerica Park, can't mask his struggles.