Chipper Jones tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he’s willing to trade spots in the Braves’ batting order with rookie phenom Jason Heyward.
Jones says he’d move from his customary third spot to second, with Heyward moving down a notch to the 3-hole.
"Ultimately I always describe that a No. 3 hitter is a guy who can do it all," Jones tells the newspaper’s Carroll Rogers. "A guy who can hit for average and power, draw walks, run, score runs, drive in runs. At least right now Jason is really the only guy that can do all of those things. With the way I’m swinging the bat, right now I’m more of a table-setter."
Jones is batting .229 with two home runs, eight RBIs and a .375 slugging percentage. He does have a .388 on-base percentage, thanks to 25 walks. Heyward is hitting .287/.411/.584 with eight homers and 28 RBIs. The latter totals are both team highs.
Jones has told Braves manager Bobby Cox he’s willing to make the switch, but he says he’ll hit wherever he’s slotted.
"Anything Bobby wants to do with the lineup, I’ve always made it known I’ll do whatever’s best for the team, and he knows that," Jones said. "I have no qualms hitting second, I have no qualms hitting fourth, fifth, sixth, whatever."
Cox says that, for now, he’ll keep his current top three intact: second baseman Martin Prado, Heyward and Jones.
"I just like it the way it is," Cox says. "Chipper – he just missed hitting a homer (Friday) night. What’s the difference, second or third, anyway, to be honest with you."
Cox notes that Heyward has had RBI opportunities from the 2-spot, and Jones’ high OBP leads to opportunities for hitters below him.
"Chipper’s got a high on-base percentage always. That’s pretty good for (Brian) McCann and (Troy) Glaus and (Eric) Hinske right now, too," Cox says.