The only slip-up he had, oddly enough, involved his normally-reliable right arm.
Playing for the Rome Braves in the first game of a weekend rehab assignment, Jones went 1-for-1 with an RBI single and two walks during Rome’s 16-4 loss to Augusta before a crowd of 4,084 at State Mutual Stadium.
Jones, who is recovering from May 26 leg surgery, had only one minor miscue in the game — a throwing error that he committed on a rather routine play in the fifth inning.
Aside from that, the six-time All-Star looked liked his old self. And looked ready to rejoin the Atlanta line-up.
“I was real happy with the way things turned out tonight,” said Jones. “Running was no problem … I didn’t feel the shin or the ankle at all.
“I felt good at the plate, very balanced,” he said.
And as for the errant throw?
“I got a circle change-up grip (on the ball) and threw it right in the ground,” said Jones with a smile.
“Having not played in a couple of weeks, there is a little rust there. But that’s what this (rehab assignment) is for. I’d much rather do it down here than up there.”
Overall, Jones seemed to have full mobility, both when running the bases and making plays at third before leaving the game after the sixth inning.
Jones was also scheduled to play for the Rome club again during Saturday’s 7 p.m. game against Augusta.
Jones said there was a chance he would play for Rome on Sunday, although he said he planned to “lobby” against that plan.
“I think the agenda to begin with was (for me) to be here all weekend,” he said, “but I am hearing rumblings (about not rehabbing on Sunday). … I don’t know if they want to see if I can play nine innings; I don’t foresee that being a problem. I could have played nine innings tonight.”
Jones’ successful performance on Friday night provided essentially the only redeeming qualities of an otherwise forgettable game for the last-place Braves, who fell behind 15-2 after the GreenJackets scored five runs in the fourth inning and then added eight more during an epic rally in the fifth.
Rome starter Navery Moore, who was named to the SAL All-Star last week, was charged with seven runs, all earned, on eight hits in 3 2-3 innings. Rome reliever Ernesto Silva also had a rough outing, allowing eight runs (four earned) on seven hits in 1 1-3 innings.
Offensively, Kyle Kubitza had a pair of hits and drove in two runs. Leadoff hitter Tony Mueller also had two hits, as did Will Skinner.
As for Jones, he was able to get two at-bats from the left side, and one from the right (in his last plate appearance).
“It was good to knock the dust off from both sides of the plate,” he said. “The last guy I faced was bringing it up there pretty good, and it was good to see that.”
Jones accounted for the game’s first run with an RBI single in the first inning.
Batting left-handed, Jones jumped on the first pitch he saw and connected for an opposite-field single that enabled Kubitza to score easily form third.
“I was going to swing at anything close,” said Jones, “because trying to get my timing is the most important thing. And, when I’ve got a guy on third, it doesn’t matter if I am in the Sally League or the big leagues, I am an RBI guy. … I was very happy with the results in that situation.”
Jones then drew a four-pitch walk in his second plate appearance, followed by another walk — on a 3-2 pitch — in his final at-bat.
He said he was pleased with the amount of pitches he saw during the game, and was pleased overall with what he accomplished.
“I felt great out there,” he said.
In Jones’ second appearance in Rome on Saturday:
Chipper Jones appreciates the convenience of being able to do his rehab work in Rome.
Still, he has no intention of putting on a Rome Braves uniform again.
The Atlanta Braves’ six-time All-Star third baseman — who is recovering from a leg injury — completed the second day of a rehab assignment with Rome on Saturday night.
He went 0-for-3 during the Braves’ 4-3 comeback win over Augusta at State Mutual Stadium.
The victory was played before a sold-out crowd of 5,105.
Jones, who left the game after the sixth inning, said during a press conference that he hopes to rejoin the Atlanta lineup today when the Braves play the Blue Jays at Turner Field.
“I talked to the trainer and to (Atlanta manager) Fredi (Gonzalez) a few minutes ago, and it looks like I could be back in there (today),” he said.
“There’s not too much more for me to prove in the Sally League. The leg is rock solid.”
Jones, who is retiring after this season, has been sidelined for roughly two weeks with a left calf contusion that required surgery on May 26 to drain a hematoma.
He had an uneventful night on Saturday, with his three plate appearances resulting in a lineout to short, a strikeout (on a called third strike) and a groundout to third.
But Jones wasn’t really interested in having big numbers in the box score. He just wanted to make sure his leg passed another test — and he said it did.
“I felt good tonight,” said Jones. “My leg felt great. All the muscles are working.”
There was originally some talk that Jones would play a third game for the R-Braves, and would be in the lineup for today’s series finale against Augusta.
Instead, it appears he will be in Atlanta.
“I am chomping at the bit to get back in that (Atlanta) uniform,” he said. “And now, that time has come.”
With Jones set to retire at the end of this season, chances are that the sell-out crowd that attended Saturday night’s game probably witnessed Chipper’s final appearance in Rome.
“I hope so,” said Jones with a laugh. “Nobody wants to be on a rehab stop, I can guarantee you that.”
Still, Jones knows there are some upsides to the rehab appearances, especially with the Braves having two minor league affiliates — Rome and Triple-A Gwinnett — located so close to Atlanta.
“It’s nice for the fans who don’t always get to see games in Atlanta,” said Jones. “And (for me), it’s nice to be able to drive 30 minutes to Gwinnett or drive an hour up here (and get some work in).”
Jones has had a good bit of experience with rehab assignments in Rome.
Including Saturday night, he was played eight games with the Rome club during four separate rehab stints at SMS. The list includes one game in 2004; three games in 2005; two games last season and two more this year.
He has gone 5-for-17 (.294) with four RBIs in those eight games, including going 1-for-1 with two walks during Friday’s game. His rehab work has drawn sellout crowds to SMS on several occasions.
Saturday’s sellout was the second of the season at SMS, and the fans were rewarded in two ways: They were able to see a future Hall of Famer, and were treated to one of the best performances of the season from the last-place R-Braves (17-45).
Fueled by a pair of solo homers by Fernando De Los Santos, the Braves overcame an early 3-0 deficit to post the victory.
“I am not sure if De Los Santos was trying to prove something to Chipper or what,” said Rome manager Randy Ingle. “I guess he wanted to show him that he has some power, too. And both of those balls were really hit hard.”
De Los Santos’ second homer of the night, and sixth of the season, tied the game at 3-3 in the eighth.
Three batters later, Kyle Kubitza drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double. Tony Mueller set up the tie-breaking run with a two-out single.
“The guys battled back tonight,” said Ingle. “We’ve been playing better baseball the past two weeks.”
Reliever Jarrett Miller (3-0) earned the win with 2 1-3 scoreless innings, finishing with two walks and two strikeouts.
Rome starter Greg Ross was credited with a quality start. He allowed eight hits but limited Augusta to three runs in 6 2-3 innings.