10/05/12 4:33 PM ET
For playoff first-timers, Chipper 'calming influence'
By Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
Jones, who has a .288 batting average in 92 playoff games, said postseason experience can be beneficial in slowing the game down. He said his role is to be a "calming influence" during the playoffs.
"I think the young guys have a tendency to just step in the box and take a swing and step in the box and get ready," Jones said. "Everything's just really amped up, and you have to slow them down and calm them down. The game's not played any differently just because the stakes are a little higher right now."
While much of the Cardinals' roster was a part of last year's World Series championship team, five of the Braves' starters Friday -- left fielder Martin Prado, first baseman Freddie Freeman, second baseman Dan Uggla, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and right-hander Kris Medlen -- will be playing in their first playoff game.
Even with all the young players, Jones said he isn't worried about Atlanta's inexperience. At Thursday's workout, he didn't see the same overeager and "amped up" behavior he has in the past with other playoff teams. Instead, the Braves took batting practice seriously.
"Everybody was focused [Thursday]," Jones said. "There wasn't a lot of joking around. There weren't a lot of guys swinging from the heels. They were working on stuff. That's a maturation process I was happy to see [Thursday]."
Gonzalez said rookie right-handers Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran have returned home to prepare to pitch in winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Right-hander Ben Sheets, who retired following Wednesday's regular-season finale, returned to Louisiana to be with his family. None of the three pitchers was expected to be a part of the playoff roster.
Gonzalez said the rest of the club's September roster will remain in Atlanta in case those players are needed in the playoffs.
Outfielder Matt Diaz, who is out for the season following thumb surgery, is expected to be around the team throughout the playoffs. Diaz is on the 60-day disabled list after undergoing surgery on his right thumb in August.
Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.