Braves third baseman Chipper Jones and manager Fredi Gonzalez said Monday they regretted their sharpest criticisms of umpire Mark Ripperger.
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Ripperger rang Jones up on two called strikes to end Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Jones starting walking to first base before Ripperger called a 3-1 pitch a strike. Jones returned to watch another called strike before flipping his bat in disgust.
After the game, Jones said both pitches were balls.
On Monday, Jones said he regretted saying work by umpires overall ”is substandard.” He said Monday umpires ”do as good a job as they can.”
”There’s some really good umpires in that crew,” Jones said. ”It just so happens that the game didn’t end real well for us, on two balls that shouldn’t have been called strikes.
”To say that the umpiring is substandard, that was probably wrong of me to say. I’m probably sorry, more than anything, of making that comment.”
Jones is not starting Monday against Colorado after having a cortisone shot in his sore right knee. Brooks Conrad is starting at third base. Jones expects to return to the lineup Tuesday night.
Gonzalez said Sunday that Ripperger’s calls ”were awful” and ”not even close.”
The manager said Monday he shouldn’t have been so critical.
”After thinking about it later on, I shouldn’t have said what I said,” Gonzalez said. ”But being a competitor, and obviously the competitor that Chipper is, you feel like you get a guy on there and you bring (Brian) McCann to the plate.”
Jones and Gonzalez say they have not been fined by Major League Baseball for their comments. Jones said Sunday, ”If I get fined, I get fined. I don’t care.”