Chipper intends to play in remaining home games

Chipper intends to play in remaining home games

Chipper intends to play in remaining home games
ATLANTA -- Down to the final regular-season homestand of his career, third baseman Chipper Jones intends to play in all six of the Braves' games against the Marlins and Mets this week.

On Monday, Jones tweeted "To answer all ur questions....Im playing every day this week.....get ur butts to the Ted!!!"

Jones has played on six consecutive days twice this season, but he didn't start all of the games. In each streak he appeared once as a pinch-hitter. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said as long as Jones says he's healthy, he will play.

"He wants to play all the games at home, and you can't blame him," Gonzalez said. "We sat down and spoke about it this afternoon. He wants to play all six, because he wants to be able to catch the Nationals and also give the fans here something to come out and watch."

Once the Braves clinch a playoff spot, which could happen as soon as Tuesday night, Gonzalez said he might use Jones more carefully, but the third baseman will continue to play as often as his health allows.

The Braves enter Tuesday five games behind the Nationals in the National League East with 10 to play. Such a deficit makes a comeback a long shot, but Gonzalez said the Braves will keep pushing to make sure they at least clinch home-field advantage in the Wild Card game and put pressure on the Nationals to win the division.

Even once the Braves' playoff position is locked in, Gonzalez said he doesn't believe in resting his regulars.

"I'm a big believer that in any kind of sports, no matter the size or shape of the ball, you can't turn it off and on," Gonzalez said. "I don't believe that. I think you still have to have some kind of intensity going into the last two or three games and the postseason."

Jones' intention to play every day will make it difficult for backup third baseman Juan Francisco to stay fresh. When Jones was playing more sparingly this summer, Francisco got into a groove at the plate. From the All-Star break until the end of August, Francisco played in 31 of the Braves' 46 games and hit .314 with a .569 slugging percentage.

In September, however, Jones has pushed himself to play as much as possible and Francisco's playing time has dried up. Francisco has played in just five games, most recently Sept. 15 against the Nationals. He is 2-for-14 with nine strikeouts this month.

Gonzalez said finding playing time for Francisco won't be easy, but joked, "That's why I get the big bucks."