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Chipper remains confident of glove


Chipper remains confident of glove
MIAMI --- Chipper Jones entered Wednesday's game having made four errors this season to lead all National League third basemen. Three led to decisive runs in Braves losses. It happened twice on the recent homestand --- Saturday against the Astros and Tuesday night against the Mets.

Jones said he still feels confident in his defense at third base.

"I want the ball hit to me," Jones said. "I just had a couple plays that haven't worked out --- whether it's bad judgment or a bad hop or stone hands, whatever. We all go through little streaks where we make these errors, then you'll go 25, 30, 40 games without making one. Hopefully the bulk of my error total is behind me."

The first of those costly errors came fielding a ground ball in Washington on April 21. Coupled with an error by left fielder Matt Diaz, it led to a three-run sixth inning in a 4-3 loss.

On Saturday, Jones had a double-play chance against the Astros that he bobbled, opening the door to a three-run inning in a 5-1 loss.

Then Tuesday night against the Mets, he threw wide to second base on a bunt play to set up Carlos Delgado's two-run single in a 4-3 loss.

"I've made two really bad errors in the last week that have come at inopportune times, but physical errors are going to happen," Jones said. "(Tuesday night) was just a case where I was going to first, I was set up to first, and the catcher at the last second yelled 'Two, two, two.' I tried to throw across my body and made a bad throw."

Not only was Jones last among National League third basemen in errors, but he was last in fielding percentage (.915) before Wednesday's games.

Fielding percentage is based on how successful a fielder is with chances that come his way. It can't account for how well a player gets to those chances. But Jones said he doesn't place much weight on the statistic.

"At third base you've got to put fielding percentage out of your mind because you're going to have the lowest fielding percentage on the team," Jones said. "You play closest to home plate; you're going to get some tough errors. You don't get as many plays as the shortstop and second baseman, but the degree of difficulty is harder."

Jones said his main goal on defense is to keep errors down.

"If you can stay somewhere between 10-15 as a third baseman, you've had a pretty good year," said Jones, who's done that six times in his career. "Anything under 10 is phenomenal."

Loading vs. lefties

Manager Bobby Cox started Martin Prado at first base for the second time in three days Wednesday, sitting Casey Kotchman against left-hander Graham Taylor.

Putting Prado at first and Omar Infante instead of Kelly Johnson at second gave the Braves two more right-handed bats in a lineup that is predominantly left-handed.

Kotchman is hitting .300 (9-for-30) with no home runs and three RBIs against lefties, but Prado is hitting even better at .353 (6-for-17) with a home run and five RBIs. Johnson is hitting .308 (8-for-26) against lefties, but Infante is hitting .364 (8-for-22).

"They're swinging the bat so good, [Prado] and Infante," Cox said. "Nothing against anybody else or anything. . . . They're swinging good and we need some hitting. Got to get them in there."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 7, 2009

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