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Braves' Jones starts to do some damage

ATLANTA — Chipper Jones showed Tuesday he can still knock the cover off the ball.

Now for the next step in his recovery from knee surgery.

Jones, the Braves' switch-hitting third baseman, took a big left-handed swing and ripped the cover from a ball in batting practice Tuesday morning.

As Braves president John Schuerholz held the empty cover in the Turner Field batting cage, Jones, 38, told him, "That's what you've got to look forward to."

One step at a time. Jones has been hitting since December but the six-time All-Star has not taken ground balls or run the bases.

Jones plans to begin agility drills this week to pave the way for his return to the field in spring training.

"I'm resigned to not doing any of the fielding stuff until I get down to Florida, which is probably in my best interests," he said.

Jones can report with pitchers and catchers on Feb. 14 because he finished the season on the disabled list.

He said he has added motivation to be ready for spring training.

"I don't want to miss a day of work in spring training because I have a limited time to prove to everybody else — and myself — that I can go out there and play and be the opening day third baseman," Jones said.

METS SAGA: The Mets' owners met with commissioner Bud Selig to discuss the team's finances, the Associated Press reported.

The meeting involved owner Fred Wilpon, team president Saul Katz and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and took place at the commissioner's office, according to AP. Selig is in New York for another event, and the meeting had been scheduled for about two weeks. Selig and Fred Wilpon are longtime friends.

The Wilpons announced Friday they will consider seeking a minority partner to invest in the Mets. The Wilpons were sued last month by trustee Irving Picard, who is seeking to recover money for the victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

SECOND CHANCE: Willie Mays Aikens, who went from World Series star to federal prison inmate, has returned to baseball.

Aikens, 56, was hired as a minor-league coach by the Royals and will work out of their complex in Surprise, Ariz.

Aikens hit four home runs for the Royals in their 1980 Series loss to the Phillies. He later served almost 14 years on gun, bribery and cocaine charges. He was released from federal custody in June 2008.

GAME CANCELED: The Astros and Red Sox canceled the second of two exhibition games in March because MLB rules prohibit the playing of exhibition games when the regular season has started. The canceled game was set for March 31 at Minute Maid Park, the day 12 teams begin the regular season.

BREWERS: Outfielder Mark Kotsay, 35, is close to agreeing to a major-league deal, SI.com reported.

ORIOLES: Reliever Alfredo Simon was denied bail and will remain in jail in the Dominican Republic on an involuntary manslaughter charge. Simon, 29, is expected to stay in jail for a year while officials investigate a fatal shooting on New Year's Eve.

YANKEES: The Steinbrenner family, as part of a renovation project at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, decided that team co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner will use the office of his late father, George Steinbrenner. … Right-hander Freddy Garcia, 34, agreed to a minor-league contract.

Braves' Jones starts to do some damage 02/01/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 9:11pm]
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