ATLANTA — After seeming on the verge of announcing his retirement, Chipper Jones changed course Thursday and said he won’t make a decision until after the season.
The Braves third baseman called the media to his locker before the final game of an interleague series against Tampa Bay, looking to put a halt to the speculation about his future.
“Any more talk of the r-word will be reserved until the end of the season,” Jones said. “Somehow the cork got taken out. Well, I’m putting it back in right now.’
For two days, Jones had appeared ready to call it a career. He told The Associated Press he merely needed to work out some “red-tape issues” — including the $28 million he is owed for the final two years of his contract — and indicated he would make an announcement before the end of the homestand on Sunday.
Now, the 38-year-old Jones is taking a different path.
“Honestly, I have not made a decision either way. Let’s face it, we all know, sort of, which way I’m leaning,” he said, presumably indicating he’s still seriously considering retirement after struggling for the second year in a row and battling numerous injuries.
“But I think it’s best that we put this all behind us.”
When the season is over, Jones said he’ll meet with family, friends and other members of his support group to gather their input before he decides whether to return in 2011.
Jones said he’s been meeting periodically with team president John Schuerholz and general manager Frank Wren over the last six months to discuss his future. There was another such meeting on Tuesday that also included manager Bobby Cox.
“As best as I can gather right now, he’s thinking about retiring after this year,” Cox said following the meeting. “But I can’t give a definitive answer.”
Segui appears before Clemens grand jury
WASHINGTON — Former major leaguer David Segui appeared Thursday before the federal grand jury investigating Roger Clemens for perjury. The New York Daily News reported that Segui testified for about 90 minutes. Segui declined comment to the paper as he left the grand jury room. Segui told the Daily News earlier this month that he didn’t know if Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs, but he expected to be questioned about the vials, needles and bloodstained gauze that Clemens’ former trainer gave to investigators in 2008, claiming it was evidence Clemens used steroids. Brian McNamee told investigators he had told Segui about the medical waste about 10 years ago.
Mets’ Bay out of lineup
CLEVELAND — Mets left fielder Jason Bay was out of the lineup for Thursday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians after bruising his left thigh. Bay was injured beating out a single in the second inning of Wednesday’s 8-4 victory at Cleveland. He collided with first baseman Andy Marte and was knocked to the ground. Bay got up limping, but stayed in the game. He was removed in the sixth.
Pirates quietly extended contracts of GM, manager
PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates extended the contracts of manager John Russell and general manager Neal Huntington for the 2011 season without making a public announcement during the offseason. The Pirates were coming off a 99-loss season in 2009 and, amid slumping ticket sales, apparently felt announcing the winter deals might further lessen enthusiasm for this season.
Meanwhile, Pirates president Frank Coonelly says the team didn’t ask Aki Iwamura to undergo a physical before trading for him last year, even though the former Rays infielder was coming off major left knee surgery. Coonelly said Thursday it is uncommon for big league teams to ask for such physicals. He also said that scouting reports the Pirates received after Iwamura resumed playing for Tampa Bay last season were positive. Iwamura proved to be a major bust, costing the Pirates $4.8 million in salary for little offensive production. His left knee apparently bothered Iwamura so much that it left him with little range defensively. Iwamura was designated for assignment Wednesday after batting .182 — one of the lowest averages in the majors for an everyday player.
Dodgers Furcal placed on bereavement list
CINCINNATI — The Los Angeles Dodgers put shortstop Rafael Furcal on the bereavement list before the final game of their series against the Cincinnati Reds. He left for the Dominican Republic to be with an ailing family member on Thursday. He’s batting .302 since his return from a strained left hamstring on May 25, and had five hits in a 12-0 victory over the Reds on Tuesday night.
Tulowitzki hit in hand
MINNEAPOLIS — Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki left the game against Minnesota on Thursday in the eighth inning after getting hit by a pitch on his left hand. Tulowitzki was in visible pain after being hit by Twins reliever Alex Burnett and received attention from Rockies trainers. He remained in the game on the bases, but was pulled when the defense took the field in the bottom of the inning.