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Chipper Jones, who will turn 40 years old shortly after the Atlanta Braves open their 2012 season, decided Thursday to announce he will retire at the end of the year, rather than to wait and see how he felt at the end of his 18th major league season.

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Chipper: For real this time, 2012 will be my final season

After saying recently he wasn’t sure he could even make it through this season — then backtracking a day later, saying he was only kidding — Braves veteran star Chipper Jones officially declares Thursday that 2012 will be his final professional year in the major leagues.

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