Chipper beginning to find his stroke

Chipper beginning to find his stroke

ATLANTA -- It appears that the demise of Chipper Jones has been greatly exaggerated.

Jones, who finished April with two home runs, six RBIs and a .230 batting average, is showing signs that June could be a very prosperous month.

While his average stood at only .234, heading into Saturday night's game with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he had hits in seven of his last 10 games, including four multiple-hit efforts, and had driven in 12 runs in May.

He credits a look at himself and a subtle change to his approach at the plate.

"You'd be surprised how focused you get when you're hitting .220," Jones said prior to Saturday night's game. "I've made some subtle changes in my set-up. I felt like whenever I was swinging I was kind of falling away from home plate. Just a little inward tilt kind of getting my nose down in there has helped left-handed.

"Right-handed, I'm swinging at everything. Everything looks like a strike," he continued. "That usually happens when you're moving forward and drifting -- having to cheat a little bit to get the bat head out. But I'm starting to get some balls to fall in."

A prime example was his second-inning at-bat Friday night against Pirates lefty Zach Duke, when he dunked a soft line drive into right field to give Atlanta a 5-0 lead.

His change of luck coincides with the Braves' change of personnel in the top of the batting order.

"RBI opportunities are coming ever since Bobby [Cox] changed the lineup and moved [Martin] Prado and [Jason] Heyward up ahead of me," he said. "My opportunities with runners in scoring position are going up, [Brian McCann's] are going up, Troy [Glaus'] are going up."

Jones, who is a firm believer that what goes around comes around, is eager to start getting around on some of the pitching that frustrated him early on.

"The game's cyclical. The game's going to come back around to you at some point. You've got to be patient," he said. "I want to continue to take my walks, I want to keep my on-base percentage around .400. If I"m not going to hit for the power that I'm used to hitting for, I want to be as tough an out as possible and try to get on base as much as possible."