Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution put up a good Q&A with Braves third baseman Chipper Jones early this morning. In an off-season lacking much Braves news, it's good to have something to talk about.
Of course, the big question in regards to Chipper is always his health, and he had this to say when asked how his knees are feeling.
Everything is pretty good. I've been working out for a month, month and a half. I played in (Brian McCann) Mac's charity softball game about six weeks ago. I was really worried coming out of that because my right knee was killing me. I had been away from playing for a month and really had seen no improvement. But now I've been taking - not live swings, but swings with aggression - here at the house. Six weeks ago I couldn't put any weight on my right knee at all, as far as swinging right-handed. Now I'm basically swinging as hard as I can. I'm able to sit back on my backside, which is something I couldn't do at the end of last year. I feel strong.
There's some pretty worrisome stuff in there, but the good news is that his right knee appears to be better than it was at the end of last season.
One of the few moves that the Braves have made so far this off-season was firing hitting coach Larry Parrish and subsequently hiring former White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker for the same job in Atlanta. The reaction to Walker's hiring was pretty mixed, but it's hard for anyone on the outside to truly evaluate a hitting coach. Here's what Jones had to say about the Braves new hitting coach.
Guys like (Paul) Konerko and Adam Dunn - they love him. (They say) he's very accessible, always one of the first guys at the park, last one to leave. You also want a hitting coach that is not going to turn somebody into his prototypical-style hitter. You've got to be able to watch film and recognize what guys are doing when they're successful and recognize what they're doing when they're not. Each guy's swing is going to be different, so you can't teach everybody to hit the same way. And it seems like he's got the philosophy of (treating) every hitter singularly.
These comments are good to hear, as it appeared that at least part of the problem with Parrish revolved around the fact that he struggled to come up with plans to improve or fix certain hitters in the Braves lineup. It'll be interesting to see how the Braves offense does under Walker, but it appears his philosophy is certainly a better fit for Atlanta than his predecessor's.
Jones talked about a myriad of other subjects in this Q&A, including the last month of the 2011 season, his thoughts on the Braves lack of off-season moves, his mindset going into the 2012 season, and if he has thought about playing in 2013. It's well worth your time to read.