NL East Notes: Jones, Gonzalez, Koufax, Beltran, Harper

March 9, 2012; Lake Buena Vista FL, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones (10) waves to fans while warming up before the game against the New York Mets at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Here's some news and notes out of the National League East:

  • The Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones may be closer to retirement than he thought at the beginning of spring. After going 0-for-3 Monday, putting him at 0-for-8 with three walks this spring, the future Hall of Famer told to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "I've said it a million times, it's hell getting old. My body is starting to tell me every morning when I wake up that it's getting close...I don't know if I can make it through this year." Jones is owed $14M in 2012 and has a $7M vesting option for 2013 if he plays 123 games this year.
  • Speaking of fading Braves, while Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez fared better this off-season than the manager of that other team with a September collapse, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says Gonzalez' time may be short. While spring stats are basically meaningless, the Braves are 1-10 this spring after blowing a 9 1/2 game lead last year with 30 games to play. If the Braves continue to struggle through April, Rosenthal mentions special assistant Jim Fregosi, who hasn't managed since 2000, may be the leading internal candidate for manager.
  • Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax is among the witnesses scheduled to testify at a trial next week to determine if the New York Mets must give up the millions of dollars they received from Bernie Madoff. Koufax is a childhood friend of Fred Wilpon, one of the Mets' owners. If the jury decides the Mets had knowledge that Madoff was acting illegally, they could be forced to pay up to $300M.
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