Future Hall of Famer may be finished

Chipper Jones will undergo surgery on a season-ending knee injury he suffered earlier this week. Whether or not Jones will ever wear a big league uniform again is yet to be determined.

The loss of the 38-year-old third baseman is a big blow to the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves. And at his age, there’s no guarantee the Braves lifer will play again.

Chipper has had an impressive career in Atlanta dating back to his major league debut in 1993. He was the NL MVP in 1999 and led the Braves to postseason berth after postseason berth, including their lone World Series title in 1995.

The Braves could have a very different look next season, with longtime manager Bobby Cox already saying that he will retire after this season.

Jones is a career .306 hitter with 436 career homers, which are third-most in big league history for a switch-hitter (Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray are ahead of him). He’s a no-doubter future Hall of Famer in my opinion when he chooses to retire. If this is it for him, Jones and Ken Griffey Jr. would help make for quite a HOF class in five years.

Twins win this round, but war is not over

The Minnesota Twins moved into the driver’s seat in the AL Central race on Thursday night, defeating the Chicago White Sox 6-1. The Twins took 2 of 3 in the series, giving them a one-game lead in the division over the ChiSox.

Encouraging to see the Twins offense take advantage of a few opportunities. Francisco Liriano pitched in and out of a few jams in the fifth and sixth innings, with a little help from reliever Matt Guerrier.

It is only mid-August, but you can’t discount victories like this one. The Twins were considered favorites by many to win the AL Central before the season. And for whatever reason – blame Joe Nathan‘s injury, blame Justin Morneau‘s concussion, blame whatever – Minnesota just hasn’t been able to pull away. Do they lack a killer instinct, or were they just not as good as we all thought? Whatever the case, the Twins would rather be a game up than a game back, and that’s where they find themselves.

Now, the Twins head back to Target Field for a three-game set against the Oakland Athletics. The A’s, if you remember, jump-started the Twins last year.

On Sunday, Sept. 6, 2009, the Twins were a couple games below .500 and wrapping up a home series against Oakland at the Metrodome. This was the first game of Morneau’s season-ending departure from the team due to injury. This was also the last game – as of now – of Joe Crede‘s big league career.

But the Twins pummeled the A’s thanks to the pitching of Brian Duensing, and from then on Minnesota rolled, rallying to win the AL Central after taking a one-game playoff against the Detroit Tigers.

The A’s this year are hanging around the AL West, but all can agree that division belongs to Texas barring an epic collapse.