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B.J. Upton gets hitting lesson from Chipper

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- As Chipper Jones progressed through his legendary career with the Braves, many of his teammates often went to him with the hope of benefiting from his sound understanding of offensive approach and swing mechanics.

Though he never had the opportunity to play with Jones, B.J. Upton was given a chance to benefit from his tutelage when the former Braves third baseman spent Thursday afternoon catching up with friends and former teammates at Turner Field.

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ATLANTA -- As Chipper Jones progressed through his legendary career with the Braves, many of his teammates often went to him with the hope of benefiting from his sound understanding of offensive approach and swing mechanics.

Though he never had the opportunity to play with Jones, B.J. Upton was given a chance to benefit from his tutelage when the former Braves third baseman spent Thursday afternoon catching up with friends and former teammates at Turner Field.

View Full Game Coverage

"When it comes to hitting, it's hard for me to keep quiet," Jones said with a smile.

After resting him on Wednesday, the Braves put Upton back in the lineup's second spot on Thursday night with the hope that he might benefit from some of the tips provided by Jones, who has proven he has a knack for speaking a language that other players understand when it comes to hitting.

"He's got a little extra hinge with his hands that is taking his bat past perpendicular," Jones said. "Whenever you do that, your back elbow comes up. In order to get back to swing the bat, the elbow has to come down, which means the bat path loops and he's got this upward plane. The ball down, he'll be able to hit. But the pitch thigh-high, he's going to have trouble with it."

Upton entered Thursday with a .138 batting average and 13 strikeouts through his first 29 at-bats. In other words, the veteran center fielder has extended the struggles he experienced last year when he hit .185 and struck out once every 2.95 plate appearances.

"He was starting to get what we were talking about," Jones said. "If he is going to hinge, don't go past perpendicular. Right now, we just have to get him on the right [swing] plane."

Thursday marked the first time Jones had visited the Braves since he was embarrassed by the fact that he was forced to throw the ceremonial first pitch to a mascot before Game 1 of last year's National League Division Series against the Dodgers.

Many of the Braves veteran players refused to catch the pitch because they were upset Jones had picked the Dodgers to win the series when asked for his prediction by a local radio station. Jones felt former Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson had convinced his teammates to refuse to partake in the event.

"That's over," Jones said. "Huddy and I talked. We said what needs to be said."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, B.J. Upton