Chipper Jones acknowledges fans at a pregame ceremony during his farewell tour last season.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Atlanta Braves great Chipper Jones will have his No. 10 retired by the team, giving fans another opportunity to celebrate his career.
The recently retired third baseman will be inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame during a ceremony on June 28, when the Braves host the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Chipper was a Brave from the beginning to the end of his career and his legacy will forever live in our record books,” Braves president John Schuerholz said in a statement. “There is no greater honor that we can bestow upon him than to induct him into our Hall of Fame and retire his iconic number 10.”
An eight-time All-Star, Jones left baseball after his 19th major-league season. He finished as the leader in 11 statistical categories in Atlanta Braves history. The 1999 NL MVP, Jones batted .303 with 468 homers and 1,623 RBI.
Jones’ number will be the 10th retired by the team. The others were: Hank Aaron (44), Eddie Mathews (41), Dale Murphy (3), Phil Niekro (35), Warren Spahn (21), Greg Maddux (31), Tom Glavine (47), Bobby Cox (6) and John Smoltz (29).
TEHERAN READY TO GO?: Julio Teheran went into last year rated as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball — but he didn’t live up to the billing, struggling in spring training and then not coming close to matching his previous success during a second season at AAA Gwinnett.
However, the 22-year-old right-hander from Colombia seemed to regain his old form in the Dominican Winter League, and he is being counted on as the Braves’ fifth starter after the team traded away both veteran Tommy Hanson and young Randall Delgado.
Is Teheran ready? He’d better be, because of the Braves really don’t have a realistic Plan B with Brandon Beachy unavailable until at least midseason after undergoing Tommy John surgery last June.
“He’s maturing,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Teheran. “He looked different in winter ball. Sometimes failure is a good teacher.”
Teheran allowed just two hits over 16 2/3 innings while striking out 15 in his final three outings in the Dominican. Gonzalez, general manager Frank Wren and other Braves officials watched one of the impressive starts.
The Braves had Teheran work on some refinements in his delivery last season, and the results were not what was hoped, to say the least. He had a 9.37 ERA in five Grapefruit League games last year, allowing nine homers in 16 1/3 innings. Then he went 7-9 with a 5.08 ERA at Gwinnett after winning the organization’s Pitcher of Year honors the season before by going 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA.
Teheran went back to his old way of pitching in the Dominican, and his velocity, as well as his command, bounced back.
“(My mechanics) were not feeling natural, but I was trying to do the whole year how they wanted me to do it,” Teheran said. “It doesn’t work with me. So I started to use what I did the year before.”
Now he has to build off that revived success this spring.
“I feel like I have more confidence,” said Teheran, who reported to camp a little bigger and seemingly a lot stronger. “I know I have to work hard to be the fifth start, but in my mind, just work hard and I’ll be there.”
UGGLA TRIMS DOWN: Dan Uggla hopes that a trimmer body will help him have a bounce-back season in 2013. The veteran reported to camp at about 205 pounds, which is down from 225 last spring and 215 at the end of last season.
“I thought I was eating right, and I wasn’t,” he said.
Uggla, 32, tailed off badly in the second half and finished last season with career lows in batting average (.220), home runs (19), RBI (78), slugging percentage (.384) and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.732) while striking out a career-worst 168 times.
FREEMAN OK: Freddie Freeman, who played the last four months of the 2012 season with a sore left index finger, was able to grip the bat without issue as camp began. He was looking forward to a pain-free start to the season. His finger was hit by Jose Reyes’ throw while sliding into second base against the Marlins on June 6. “The first week of January, I was able to make a full fist,” Freeman said.
OPENING DAY STARTER?: RHP Kris Medlen or RHP Tim Hudson likely will get the Opening Day start at home against the Phillies on April 1, but Gonzalez said that he would wait until well into Grapefruit League play before lining up his rotation. There is a good chance that LHP Mike Minor, who finished last season strong, will start the second game of the three-game opening series with the Phillies so that Gonzalez can split his top right-handers.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2.21 -- LHP Mike Minor’s ERA in his final 15 starts last season, compared to a 6.20 ERA in his first 15 outings.
GONZALEZ MAD: Jordan Schafer and INF Tyler Pastornicky didn’t report to camp until the mandatory Feb. 14 date, and that didn’t please manager Fredi Gonzalez, who noted that they shouldn’t have had any travel issues.
Both live in Florida. Schafer, who hit two homers as a rookie on opening day in 2009, was re-claimed off waivers from the Astros and is a candidate for a bench role. Pastornicky opened last season as the Braves’ shortstop, but he probably will start this year back in the minors.
SIMMONS COMES LATE, LEAVING EARLY: Andrelton Simmons was the last Braves regular to report to camp, but he still was on the field two days before the scheduled first full-squad workout on Feb. 15. Simmons, 23, was limited to 49 games as a rookie last season because of a broken bone in his right hand. Even so, he is slated to take over as the Braves’ leadoff hitter. The native of Curacao will leave camp in late February to play for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I would probably throw out a back muscle if I tried to swing a bat.” — Retired 3B Chipper Jones, who was in Braves camp for a few days as a guest instructor.