We all know that Chipper Jones is going to be part of the Atlanta Braves for life. After playing all 19 years of his MLB career for the team and having his jersey number retired, that will happen. But up to this point, no one had Jones pegged as a hitting instructor for the Braves.
Well, the future hall-of-famer couldn’t help himself recently when it came some hitting tips for B.J. Upton. The outfielder has of course struggled mightily at the plate since joining the Braves last season, but Jones thinks he may have found the problem.
Here’s what Chipper had to say on Upton’s swing:
“When it comes to hitting, it’s hard for me to keep quiet…He’s got a little extra hinge with his hands that is taking his bat past perpendicular. Whenever you do that, your back elbow comes up. In order to get back to swing the bat, the elbow has to come down, which means the bat path loops and he’s got this upward plane. The ball down, he’ll be able to hit. But the pitch thigh-high, he’s going to have trouble with it.”
After Upton’s hitting lesson from Jones on Thursday afternoon, he went 1-4 at the plate with a run scored. Not great, but .250 is sure as heck better than the buck-fifty he’s been hitting thus far in 2014.
Clearly, Upton has a long way to go before he can get back to being a respectable hitter, but maybe the lesson from Jones will help to speed up that process. The Braves aren’t counting on him to hit .300 — they’d be happy if he just got back to near his career average of .247.