Can Chipper silence his critics?

What are your expectations for Chipper Jones this season?

He was so bad last season, he almost quit in May. And then he got good again, before he got hurt again.

And now, Chipper Jones is trying to come back once again. He'll be 39 in April, which is older than any other third baseman in the game. But he still believes he can be productive.

Jones slid a few times in the game Sunday against the Mets, and there were no problems. He doesn't believe there will be, other than the usual soreness that should accompany the injury.

Look, it's natural to be a bit skeptical of Jones. First, he IS 39 years old in seven weeks. To see a player that age play third base is not normal; it just doesn't happen very often.

And, if you are in Jones' age bracket, you know how tough it is to get up every morning as you get older. It was just easier at 29 compared to 39, and this guy is getting up every morning and playing baseball.

So what is realistic for Jones this season? 100 games? 120 games? And if he plays that much, what numbers can we expect at the plate? It looks like he's going to hit third again, so he will be counted on for a lot of production.

It's one thing to get Jones back, but it's another thing for him to show what he can do once he gets back. That'll be the more important result of this comeback - the production he has in the Atlanta lineup.

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Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, GA and The Atlanta Baseball Talk Show. Shanks writes columns for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at and follow him on Twitter at

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