Chipper Jones made headlines yesterday for his “I don’t know if I can make it through this year” quote, but not surprisingly he clarified those comments today and made it very clear that he was just kidding around:
Unfortunately, I said it around two guys who don’t know me very well and they didn’t realize I was kidding around. One of the guys asked, “You think you can make it through the season with your knees?” I said, “Make it through the season, I don’t know if I can make it through tomorrow.”
Obviously, I’m joking. That’s an obvious joke. Really, I just came off the field after playing eight innings. I’ve had eight at-bats all spring. I was kidding around. It was tongue and cheek. I was kidding. I just got done playing eight innings with three at-bats. I was a little tired. I wasn’t by any means suggesting I couldn’t make it through the season. If I didn’t think that I could, I wouldn’t be out there.
So that’s that. Jones is 40 years old and retirement has seemingly been on his mind for a while now, but he was plenty effective last season and, if reasonably healthy, seems likely to be plenty effective again this season. He’s yet to post an OPS under .800 in 17 full seasons as a big leaguer.
The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.
However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”
Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.
Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.
Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.
No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.