ATLANTA — Mark Teixeira has had two curtain calls in two seasons with the Braves, and in his free-agent season he says he wants Atlanta fans to know he appreciates it.
Teixeira, who was called out of the dugout by fans after hitting his third homer in the Braves’ 8-3 win over Seattle on Sunday, hinted that the support from fans could be a factor as he considers his options.
"They’ve all been very supportive," Teixeira said. "Even when I’ve gone through a couple 0-fers in a row, they’re cheering me.
"They’ve given me a lot to thank them for."
Teixeira earned his first curtain call in his debut with the Braves last season after he came to Atlanta in a seven-player trade with Texas. He hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs against Houston on Aug. 1, and the Atlanta fans responded by calling Teixeira out of the dugout for an ovation.
The scene was repeated on Sunday after Teixeira became the first Atlanta player to hit three homers in a game at Turner Field.
Teixeira hit solo drives batting left-handed in the second and fourth innings before adding a two-run shot from the right side in the seventh.
The first baseman quickly hopped back up the dugout steps to tip his cap in his answer to the ovation.
Teixeira said he doesn’t take the support from the fans for granted.
"Especially in my situation, not knowing what’s going to happen next year," he said. "It’s easy for fans to turn on you and say, you know, ‘Sign now. When are you going to sign?’ But they’ve been great."
Chipper still hurting
Chipper Jones, who had a key hit as a pinch-hitter on Saturday night, was held out of the starting lineup again Sunday.
Jones, who aggravated his strained right quadriceps on Friday night, is unlikely to play when the Braves open a series against Milwaukee tonight.
Jones said his injury was "a little bit" better Sunday "but not anywhere close" to having him ready to start.
After the game, manager Bobby Cox said he didn’t expect Jones to play today.
Ruben Gotay was 1-for-3 with a two-run single in the fifth inning as the fill-in starter at third base.
Escobar hopes to play
Shortstop Yunel Escobar also missed his second straight start as the Braves’ medical staff continues to evaluate his strained right hip flexor.
Escobar took batting practice and fielded ground balls before the game and said after the game he hopes to play today.
"I think tomorrow," he said. "I need to play. I love baseball."
When asked if Escobar would play today, Cox said "Maybe."