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Chipper delays return to Braves until Saturday


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Chipper Jones and Fred McGriff will always be linked as the corner infielders of Atlanta's 1995 World Series champion team. This week they will serve as the guest Spring Training instructors for the Braves.

While McGriff arrived in time to be part of the team's first full-squad workout on Friday, Jones opted to delay his arrival until Saturday.

"I've got a feeling, knowing him, that he stayed away on purpose," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Since [Friday] was the first day, he didn't want to take that away from [the other players]. I'm not for sure that is the reason. But it wouldn't surprise me."

Jones expressed this view while talking to MLB.com last week.

"I don't want to take anything away from the guys on the team," Jones said last week. "I don't want to be a distraction. To be honest, I don't want to deal with it. We've got to let those guys get their work in. I just don't feel that it is right for me to be down there right now."

When Jones arrives in camp, he will put on the Braves uniform for the first time since he retired at the end of last season. He will spend the week interacting with his former teammates and simply getting a taste of Spring Training. He is expected to stay in the Orlando area until the middle of next week.

"He's a rookie coach," Gonzalez playfully said. "He's got to go by the bathroom and share a locker."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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