Many thanks to Andruw Jones for taking the time to speak with me. I caught up with AJ in the Braves clubhouse about two weeks before the end of the season. I had been bugging him all afternoon for an interview and he finally had the time. He's a real nice guy, very friendly but still somewhat shy towards people he doesn't know. He's also a real jokester in the clubhouse, unfortunately though that never shows through on interviews.
Martin Gandy: Have injuries taken a toll on you this year? There's been talk about your back, and at times it looks like you are hurting out there.
Andruw Jones: You know it hurts, but there's nothing I can do. I just go out there and try to help my teammates any way I can. They are on me a lot to be in the lineup and do stuff for the team, but sometimes it's just...frustrating.
MG: You played a lot of games consecutively when you were younger, you had two or three years there where you played every game, do you think that took a toll on you?
AJ: No, not really. When you're young you can do that stuff. The older you get, you play so [many] games back to back, it catches up and is tough on you - it gets tough. Sometime you got to think, you get paid for this and it's the game you love, you know, it doesn't matter [referring to the injuries].
MG: Jeff Francoeur has played in every game this year, the same thing that you did when you first came up, and he's kind of wearing down here at the end, at least statistically, do you have any advice to him to maybe slow it down?
AJ: It's up to him. Right now you just got to try to go out there and play any games we can and try to win every game. We need him in the lineup; he's a key guy in the lineup for us. You know, it's just up to him. I think Bobby's a great manager he understands everything, he's a position guy, if you come to him during the year and say you need off he will give it to you. It's up to him, I can't speak for him.
MG: You don't look back on your playing every day as maybe taking a toll?
AJ: No, no.
MG: How are you and the team handling the end of this streak?
AJ: I'm not thinking about it. This is not the last game, so I can't tell you nothing about it yet. Just go out there and play the game, and take it a game at a time, just go out there and make it interesting, finish strong and just see what happens.
MG: What positives are you going to take away from this season?
AJ: Positives. There's a lot of positives. A lot of guys came around and are having a great year - LaRoche finally got into his power strength swing, McCann is having a tremendous year. A bunch of positive stuff. When the season's over we'll be happy to put it behind us, and focus on the future because we still got a lot of young guys on our ball team that got a great future in front of them. So it will be interesting, we're going to have a lot of pitchers back into the rotation - you know, we will see what happens.
MG: Are you looking to...I don't know how to approach this...there was a lot of talk at the trade deadline of you possibly being on the market. There's going to be a lot of talk this off-season about that, it's just a given. Last time you did the contract you approached the Braves and sorted something out, but are you going to do that again this time?
AJ: My contract is not over yet, so I still got one more year with the Braves.
MG: Are you going to approach them before that and try to get an extension?
AJ: You know, they already pay you for that year, so wait until the season is over and then think about a contract. I'm not thinking about that stuff because it's not time to think about it yet. I'm just trying to wait until this is over and just trying to look forward and put it behind us and look for a new season again and look for more improvement.
Interviewer's note: I didn't want to push the trade issue any further. It was pretty clear he didn't want to talk about it.
MG: You got any plans for the off-season, you playing any winter ball?
AJ: No, I don't play winter ball. But I think I'm gonna go to the Japan trip from the All-Star game.