ATLANTA -- With his most recent cortisone injection causing some discomfort in his right knee, Chipper Jones sat at his locker Monday afternoon and said he regretted allowing his displeasure for Minor League umpire Mark Ripperger's strike zone to be critical of a broad range of Major League Baseball's umpires.
After looking at the final two pitches, both called strikes, to end Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Orioles, Jones said, "the officiating in this league is substandard for the most part." When he returned to Turner Field for Monday night's game against the Rockies, the veteran third baseman issued an apology.
"I wasn't going to give him the honor of throwing me out of the game," Jones said. "I got my say in. I got it on TV. The video doesn't lie. If there is anything I regret saying in the heat of the moment after the game is that the umpiring is substandard. Those guys do as good a job as they can."
When he looked at a second consecutive strike to end the game, Jones turned toward the dugout, flipped his bat and knocked it to the ground in frustration. But as Ripperger was continuing to look at him, the Braves' veteran never turned around or publicly voiced his displeasure until he reached the clubhouse.
Jones said he gained the sense there might be a confrontational reaction based on the one he got when he apologized for walking toward first base after Ripperger called Kevin Gregg's 3-1 pitch a strike. But at the same time, he knew he didn't want to create a scene similar to the one that played out Saturday when Blue Jays reliever Jon Rauch's jersey was ripped off when he was being restrained from umpire Alfonzo Marquez.
"I wasn't going to give him that satisfaction," Jones said. "I could get my point across better by doing what I did."
After Sunday's game, Jones received a cortisone injection to alleviate some of the pain caused by the torn meniscus in his right knee. The 39-year-old third baseman was out of the lineup Monday, but could return Tuesday. When he received a cortisone injection in May, he experienced relief for about six weeks.