[to top of second column]
"Well, anytime you've struggled at the plate and you're having trouble producing, it's frustrating," Jones told the AP. "I'm used to being in the middle of everything, but it hasn't been happening. Hopefully I'll have a better second half and really help contribute to this team staying in first place."
The Braves returned home from an 11-game road trip still in first, even though Jones played just four of those games because of an ailing finger.
"He's been bothered by that finger, but he's fine right now," Cox said. "We've got him back in there. Hopefully he can lead us to a championship."
Baseball already lost one of the generation's biggest stars when Ken Griffey Jr. abruptly retired this month in the middle of his 22nd season. Jones has put together a career that could get him in the mix for Cooperstown -- he had 430 career homers and trails only Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504) among switch-hitters.
Jones has long been the face of the Braves' offense, helping Atlanta wins its lone World Series title as a rookie in 1995 and significantly contributing to an unprecedented run of 14 straight division titles. His best year was 1999, when the Braves won the NL championship and he was named MVP after hitting .319 with 45 homers and 110 RBIs.
Then came the injuries, which started in 2004 and led to a stretch of five straight seasons in which he missed at least 25 games. He continued to produce when healthy, putting up 29 homers and 102 RBIs in 2007, followed by a .364 average the next season that gave him his first NL batting championship.
Jones' numbers dipped dramatically in 2009. He batted only .264 -- the second-lowest average of his 16-year career -- with 18 homers and 71 RBIs.
This season, Jones has willingly ceded the spotlight to rookie sensation Jason Heyward, leadoff man Martin Prado and new first baseman Troy Glaus.
Still, Jones remains a prominent figure in the clubhouse.
"He's a guy I watched when I was coming up," Conrad said. "We're better when we have him out there. It would be a sad day if he's leaving."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor