Chipper's new routine: dance early, hit later

Chipper's new routine: dance early, hit later

Chipper's new routine: dance early, hit later
ATLANTA -- Given another day to think about it, Chipper Jones said there will be some days -- like Thursday -- when he will not have the energy to perform the spirited pregame dance he created on Tuesday. But the Braves are simply happy with the fact that their 40-year-old veteran is feeling good enough to at least occasionally create this kind of energy.

"It's fun just to see him getting his legs back under him and swinging like he has been," Braves backup catcher David Ross said. "The last couple of years, he's been up and down. This year, he has had a solid year."

Jones' productive season was halted when he suffered a bad left calf bruise on May 18. When he returned on June 10, he struggled to find comfort at the plate. But since instituting this new pregame ritual, he has started finding some success on offense again.

Before recording three hits in Tuesday night's win, Jones attempted to keep his teammate's loose by playfully mimicking some of the pregame rituals executed by Martin Prado and Jason Heyward. His creation led him to pick each of his legs up in a stretching-like motion while hopping around in a circle just before he and the Braves took the field to start the game.

With the team having won on Tuesday, he was given no other choice but to repeat the exercise before Wednesday's game. After drilling the decisive two-run home run a few hours later, he said, "I started something I can't stop."

"I'm just doing something to help keep the guys loose," Jones said. "That's what it's all about. The more relaxed they are, the better they're going to play."

Given there will be some nights like Thursday, Jones said he won't be performing this ritual on a nightly basis. But Ross said he might be among those willing to pinch-hit and potentially benefit from the magic.

"If he keeps hitting homers and getting hits, I might start doing it," Ross said.