LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- His former Spring Training locker is now occupied by Dan Uggla and his body has not been subjected to any baseball-related activities since last year's loss to the Cardinals in the National League's Wild Card game.
But all suddenly felt normal again when Chipper Jones arrived at Champion Stadium as the Braves were completing Saturday afternoon's workout. The retired Jones will don his old uniform and begin his short stint as a guest instructor during Sunday afternoon's workout.
"It was a little weird, but life goes on," Jones said. "Like I said up at the (Baseball Writers' Association of America] banquet up in New York, life goes on. It doesn't stop just because you retire. People are going to be in your locker and people are going to be playing your position. It's going to be weird to get used to, but I better start real soon."
For the first time since he was first introduced to organized baseball approximately 35 years ago, Jones is approaching a baseball season without any responsibilities. The iconic former Braves third baseman is also quick to point out that he is approaching the upcoming season without any regrets about choosing to retire at the end of last year.
"I just haven't had the urge," Jones said. "I thought today it would be difficult not to get the itch [to play] or put the uniform on. I don't even want to put that uniform on. Honestly, I'm going to try to walk around in relative anonymity and hang out with the guys and kind of wean myself off this clubhouse."
Over the past few weeks and months, Jones has said he has never once thought about coming out of retirement. Taking that one step further, he plans to fight any urges to do anything too physically taxing while he spends the next few days on the fields with his former teammates.
"I would probably throw out a back muscle if I tried to swing a bat," Jones said. "I threw out the first pitch at Stetson University today, and I almost threw my arm out of socket. I think the last ball I threw sailed into right field in the playoff game. That's the last time I picked up a baseball. I foresee me sitting down on the benches and in the batting cages to talk a little hitting with the guys."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less