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Chipper Jones Returning For 2012 Braves Season, And Maybe 2013 Too

For yet another season, Chipper Jones will be returning to Atlanta in 2012. Why? And will he return for 2013 and well? The third baseman explains...

ATLANTA - JULY 6: Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves hits a 3rd inning home run against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - JULY 6: Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves hits a 3rd inning home run against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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There has been speculation for the last few seasons on when Hall-of-Famer Chipper Jones would call it a career. It will not be after this season, according to a report from David O'Brien. Here are the highlights from the story:

"I'm playing next year," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday. "I still feel like I can go out there and play a good third base and be a threat, at least, at the plate. I'm having a good defensive year and the [batting] average is on the rise."

Chipper has been swinging the bat well thus far in August -- the veteran's OPS of 1.049 is near the top in all of baseball -- and his presence alone in the lineup is big on a nightly basis.

In addition to his recent play since coming off the disabled list, the $14 million dollars owed to Jones in 2012 also has to be a pretty strong incentive for him to make a return once again. While Chipper and his family aren't exactly hurting for money, it would be tough to walk away from that kind of financial incentive regardless if you're a rookie just breaking in or a guy with 15 years under his belt.

As far as 2013 goes?

"I'm not really ready to make that [2013] decision yet. We sit here right now and I feel good, I'm being productive, I'm having fun, we're winning. I like to think that if I can keep my knees and my leg muscles intact for any period of time, that I can still put together a pretty good season. But even if I do that [in 2012], I may just say I'm ready to do something else."

This makes the most sense for all parties involved. No reason to make a commitment to something 18 months down the road.

Another season of Chipper Jones at third base at Turner Field. It just feels right. Maybe -- and this is a big maybe -- a championship in 2011 would change his mind, but I'd doubt it. Either way, let's just hope we cross that bridge when we get there.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.