09/06/12 1:19 PM ET
Kimbrel ready for more after four-out save
By Mark Bowman and Jon Cooper / MLB.com
Wednesday night, Kimbrel came on to relieve Eric O'Flaherty with runners on first and third and two out in the eighth inning of a 1-0 game. Kimbrel struck out Jordan Pacheco before fanning the side in the ninth to preserve the victory.
The four-out save was the first of Kimbrel's career, his first attempt in 122 appearances and only the fourth time he's pitched more than one inning.
Having familiarized himself with what it takes, he's open to doing it again.
"The role of the closer isn't just go out there and get three outs. It's go out there and finish the game whenever you're asked to come in," said Kimbrel, who added he was "good to go" Thursday, after the 25-pitch effort.
Kimbrel has benefited from a reduced workload, as Wednesday's appearance was his 50th and put him at 50 1/3 innings pitched. At this point last year, he had already made 70 appearances and thrown 68 2/3 innings.
The flamethrower admitted having to go back out for the ninth made for an interesting mindset, especially during the bottom of the eighth.
"I found myself trying to stay focused in the dugout," he said. "I saw my name on the scoreboard and I was like, 'Man, let's go down there and get me an at-bat. ... Nah, let's stay focused.' I found myself not knowing how to come out of the dugout -- do I run out there or do I walk? I'm not used to making a U-turn to go back out."
Kimbrel not only gave the Braves a shot at a winning record for the homestand, he also came bearing the gifts Thursday morning -- memorabilia from the 2011 All-Star Game, including All-Star Game garden gnomes for his bullpen colleagues.
"It's something I thought would be funny to give the guys," he said. "It's a little different."
The gnomes were well received.
"I guess it's for us getting him to the All-Star Game," said Kris Medlen. "I feel honored."
Kimbrel also handed out All-Star Game T-shirts to the rest of the team and ordered children's All-Star Game replica jerseys for his fiancee's nieces and nephews. He treated himself to a 24K gold ball to put in his trophy case.
Gathering souvenirs has become something of a hobby for Kimbrel, who did so at last year's All-Star Game, as well.
"I'm on top of my jersey signings. I try to get a lot of guys' jerseys. It will make a pretty cool room someday," he said.
"I'm still waiting on Hank Aaron to come down here so I can get his autograph," he added.
Chipper looking forward to final foray in Flushing
ATLANTA -- Everyone knows New York as "The city that never sleeps."
No one has done more to keep New Yorkers -- especially fans of the Mets -- up at night, than Chipper Jones.
This weekend, Jones will make his final visit to New York when the Braves visit Citi Field for a three-game series with the Mets.
That means these are the final three games anyone will hear Mets fans issue their chant of "Lar-ry! Lar-ry!", their intended derisive cry that has had more of a cathartic effect on Mets fans than an actual one on Jones.
"Everybody calls me that, so it's not really that big a deal," Jones said with a smile. "But we'll let them have their fun."
"I wouldn't really have it any other way," he said. "That's the way it's been up north, and I don't expect it to be any different. I've been a thorn in their sides for a long time so ..."
An Empire State Building-sized thorn.
For his career, Jones is hitting .314 against the Mets, with 49 homers -- his most against any team -- and 158 RBIs, second most against an opponent.
Jones almost single-handedly knocked the Mets out of the playoffs in 1999 while clinching his National League Most Valuable Player Award, and his success hitting at Shea Stadium (.313, 19 homers, the most in any opposing park, and 55 RBIs, third most) inspired him and wife, Sharon, to name the couple's second son Shea.
New York watering hole to become 'Chipper's'
ATLANTA -- Over the past decade, Foley's Pub and Restaurant in New York has become a popular spot for many different members of the baseball world. This weekend, the popular Manhattan bar will change its name to Chipper's.
The bar's owner, Shaun Clancy, is excited about the opportunity to celebrate Chipper Jones' last scheduled trip to play in New York City.
This weekend will be the last in which Jones plays in front of those Mets fans with which he has developed a love-hate relationship over the course of his storied career.
"Sometimes you have to tip your cap to your opponent," Clancy said. "There are few opponents in recent memory who have been as successful as Chipper Jones [as] a visiting player in New York City.
While Chipper has broken the hearts of many Mets fans over the years, New Yorkers are as knowledgeable as anyone, and they know greatness when they see it -- even when it resulted in disappointment for their hometown team."
Along with changing the bar's name, Clancy will also be offering chips, the Irish term for French Fries, in 10 different ways to honor Jones, who has worn No. 10 dating back to his rookie season in 1995.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.