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.
- Jon Paul Marosi of Fox Sports had a chance to talk to St. Louis outfielder Carlos Beltran about what he thinks of his former team, the New York Mets. "I think they're going in a different direction," said Beltran. "You have to be a little frustrated for the fans, knowing probably the team isn't going to be what the fans really want to see out there. But at the end of the day, they have prospects, players who are going to be good one day. But that day's going to be, only God knows."
- Whether top Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper will make the opening day lineup is still up in the air, but he's already drawing strong feelings at camp. "He's going to be the most hated and most liked player in the game simultaneously," one Nationals teammate told Peter Gammons. "He plays so hard, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16, he's got the eye black, people don't know him."