- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

From combined dispatches

Chipper Jones already had a World Series ring and an MVP trophy. What he wanted was the chance to finish up in the place where he started.

The Atlanta Braves were more than glad to give it to him.

The National League batting champion and the Braves agreed Tuesday to a three-year, $42 million contract extension though 2012, a deal that could ensure Jones becomes one of those rare stars who plays his entire career in one uniform.

There’s an option that could make the extension worth up to $61 million over four seasons.

“I didn’t know much about the business when I first came to Atlanta, but I knew my goal was to play good enough - and long enough - to have this hopefully happen one day,” the 36-year-old Jones said during a news conference at Atlanta’s spring training stadium in Kissimmee, Fla. “I am very, very grateful. The Braves made my decision easy.”

Jones, the first pick in the 1990 draft, has never come close to leaving Atlanta.

“Nowadays, so many players play the game for the [pay days], but I never have,” he said. “Certainly, I want to be compensated fairly for what I do, but I wasn’t going to hold the organization over a barrel.”

TIGERS: Gary Sheffield’s next home run will be his 500th in the major leagues.

The question is: What uniform will he be wearing when he hits it?

Detroit released the nine-time All-Star, leaving him without a team as he closes in on becoming the 25th player to reach the milestone.

YANKEES: Alex Rodriguez is making progress in rehab after hip surgery and could soon move his workouts from Colorado to the club’s spring training complex.

A firm date for the switch to Tampa, Fla., is not set, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. But he said the latest it would be is April 13.

The Yankees open a three-game road series at Tampa Bay on April 13.

Also, Bob Sheppard, the longtime voice of the New York Yankees, will miss the start of the season in new Yankee Stadium while he continues to recover from a bronchial infection.

Now in his late 90s, Sheppard became the public-address announcer at the old Yankee Stadium in 1951. He missed last season because of his illness.

PHILLIES: Geoff Jenkins, who had a key hit for Philadelphia in the resumption of Game 5 of last year’s World Series, is no longer with the club.

The Phillies released Jenkins, giving them 29 players as Saturday’s deadline approaches for the team to set its 25-man roster. Philadelphia also named Chan Ho Park its fifth starter. The veteran right-hander beat out lefty J.A. Happ for the final spot in the starting rotation.

MARLINS: Newcomer Emilio Bonifacio has won a starting job at third base, and Jorge Cantu will move to first.

Bonifacio was traded to the Marlins from the Nationals as part of the deal that brought Josh Willingham to Washington.

The lineup was solidified Tuesday when the Marlins optioned rookie first baseman Gaby Sanchez to Class A New Orleans.

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