Former Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones laughs before a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brett Davis)
Brett Davis
December 17, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) Chipper Jones is returning to the Atlanta Braves in a front office position he describes as ''dipping my toe back into the water.''

The Braves announced Thursday that the eight-time All-Star has been hired as a special assistant to baseball operations. Jones will report to John Hart, the president of baseball operations, and general manager John Coppolella. His primary focus during the regular season will be helping Braves hitters.

Jones retired as a player following the 2012 season. He said he spent the last few years ''decompressing'' and reached the ''undeniable conclusion'' he wants to return to the game.

''Because of what we are in the process of building for this city and our fan base, I am extremely excited to be dipping my toe back into the water that is Braves baseball,'' Jones said in a statement released by the team. ''I look forward to working with our players, as my passion for the art of hitting is something I hold near and dear to my heart.

"My hope is that I can be an `extra set of eyes' on our players and help supplement an already strong baseball operations department and coaching staff. I am honored to be back working with the Braves.''

The Braves said Jones will work as an instructor in spring training. He will also assist with amateur scouting leading up to the June draft, as well as some minor league player evaluation and instruction.

''He brings a wealth of experience - from being a number one overall draft pick, to having a highly-successful career as a World Series champion, a league MVP and a batting champion, to coming back from major injuries,'' Coppolella said. ''Chipper spent his entire Hall of Fame-caliber career in a Braves uniform and we look forward to his input with our staff and with our hitters.''

Jones won the NL MVP award in 1999 and won the NL batting title with a .364 average in 2008. His 468 home runs are the third-highest total for a switch-hitter, behind Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504).

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