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Chipper wants to stay alongside Heyward

Chipper wants to stay alongside Heyward

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MIAMI -- Chipper Jones has heard and seen the claims that it's time for the Braves to move him out of the third spot in their lineup. While he would understand if manager Bobby Cox ultimately makes this decision, the veteran third baseman thinks the club is best suited to keep him and Jason Heyward batting alongside each other in some sort of order.

"Bobby knows that with me in the three-hole, you're going to get a good at-bat," Jones said. "Regardless of the outcome, you're going to get a good at-bat. I think that's why he has kept me there.

"I think Jason is just as well suited to hit in the three-hole as me, because, besides me, he's the guy who is going to throw up the next best at-bat. He's going to see a lot of pitches and be selective. I think one way or the other, no matter where we hit in the lineup, we need to be linked."

With this, Jones once again admitted that he was open to flip-flopping lineup spots with Heyward, who has spent the past couple of weeks batting second. After some initial hesitance, the 38-year-old veteran admitted there is also a chance that he could benefit from the protection that he could receive with Heyward hitting behind him in the cleanup spot.

Dating back to June 9, Jones has compiled the fifth-worst batting average in the Majors. At the same time, he has drawn the fourth-most walks. With this in mind, there is at least reason to wonder if he is seeing hittable pitches consistently enough to maximize what he can still provide with his bat.

"In the crucial situations, yeah, I'm not," Jones said. "If I had been more selective just in the last two weeks, I probably would have had five to eight more walks. There comes a point where you will expand the strike zone when you're not seeing the ball well. I'm in one of those spurts now."

Jones hit .295 and compiled a .436 on-base percentage in his first 13 games this season. But even with his two-hit performance during Thursday's 8-3 win over the Marlins, he has batted just .193 over the course of his past 28 games.

Still with three multihit games in his past seven starts, Jones seems to be benefiting from batting alongside Heyward, who drilled a first-inning triple on Thursday and scored when the veteran third baseman doubled off the left-center-field wall.

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