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06/09/08 3:45 PM ET
Jones named NL Player of the Week
Third baseman batted .579 with 11 hits and three home runs
By Dave Fultz / MLB.com
Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones wrapped up a week of milestones on Monday when the future Hall of Famer was named the National League Player of the Week. Jones' statistics, and his career accomplishments, over the course of the last seven days were staggering. In the week spanning June 2-8, Jones led the NL with a .579 batting average, a 1.105 slugging percentage and a .652 on-base percentage. He also racked up 11 hits, three home runs, a double, six RBIs and four runs scored. "He's quite the player," said Braves manager Bobby Cox. "He's just having a fabulous season. He gets better with age." The veteran also launched career home runs No. 399 and 400 this week, becoming just the third switch-hitter to reach that milestone. Only Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504) have more career home runs among switch-hitters. The deep blast for number 400 came on a 2-0 slider from Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco, and was a relief for Jones. "I'm glad it wasn't a wall scraper and I could enjoy it," Jones said. "It was just a huge monkey off my back to get ahold of one and know it was going out and enjoy the moment." Jones was also glad his family got to witness the feat. "I'm just grateful it happened here at home in front of the home fans and in front of my family," Jones said after Thursday's game. "My whole family was here tonight." Jones, now 36, is having perhaps the best season of his 15-year career at an age in which most players begin to show signs of breaking down. Entering play Monday, Jones leads the NL in batting average (.420), on-base percentage (.504) and OPS (1.184). He is also among the league leaders in slugging (.680), runs (44), home runs (15), and walks (38). Jones is also among the best in an all-time sense. He has been in the MVP voting in the National League 11 times and won the award in 1999. His career on-base percentage (.407) is second only to Wade Boggs on the all-time list among third basemen. "He's one of the greatest hitters of his generation," Braves catcher Brian McCann said. Jones, a former No. 1 overall pick in the Draft, has been a Brave for his entire 15-year career, and Cox has seen his every accomplishment. "He's been part of the face of this organization for a decade-and-a-half now," Cox said. Jones took home Player of the Week honors despite the fact that he was forced to sit out Sunday's game with a slight tear in his right quadriceps muscle. Jones suffered the injury Saturday night in a 4-2 loss to the Phillies and hopes to return in a few days. "If I only have to miss a couple of games in Chicago," Jones said, "I'll consider myself to be pretty lucky." Braves physicians diagnosed the slugger's injury after the loss. Jones spoke to the media the next morning. "I was worried about [the disabled list] when he said 'tear,'" Jones said. "It's pretty sore this morning. We'll see when it gets better." The Braves are hopeful that Jones' injury isn't a significant one, and that he may be able to return during the upcoming series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Other nominees for the award this week included Jones' Braves teammates Yunel Escobar (.313, 2 HR, 6 RBIs) and Mark Teixeira (.370, 2 HR, 5 RBIs). Also nominated were Florida's Hanley Ramirez (.310, 5 HR, 8 RBIs), Kerry Wood (0.00 ERA, 4 SV, 7 SO) of the Cubs, Jeff Kent (.304, 3 HR, 5 RBIs) of the Dodgers, Carlos Delgado (.417, 4 2B, 4 RBIs) of the Mets, and Milwaukee's Prince Fielder (.364, 2 HR, 3 RBIs), among others.
Dave Fultz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.