Cox to return to dugout for one game

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Bobby Cox made his decision to retire a year in advance and stuck to it, leaving the Braves' dugout at the end of the 2010 season with the fourth-most wins ever for a major league manager.

Cox insists that was it. He would never do an about-face and return to duty later as so many have done.

But Cox is making an exception. For a night, the 70-year-old will manage again. Those at Coolray Field on Tuesday will see a familiar site -- No. 6 back at work.

While successor Fredi Gonzalez manages the Braves, Cox will lead the team's top prospects in the Braves vs. Future Stars game to end the spring exhibition season.

"I hope I haven't forgotten how to manage," said Cox, watching batting practice before a recent Grapefruit League game.

Then Cox quickly moved past his usual modesty, the competitive juices already starting to flow.

"I can go 1-0 for the season," he said, his face brightening as he broke into a grin.

Cox led the Braves to 14 division titles in a row and the World Series championship in 1995. He was 2,149-1,709 over 25 seasons in two stints with the Braves and was 2,504-2,001 overall counting four years in Toronto.

Only three managers have won more games than Cox -- Connie Mack (3,731), John McGraw (2,763) and Tony LaRussa (2,728).

In retirement, Cox works as a special assistant to team president John Schuerholz and spends part of the season visiting the Braves' minor league affiliates. That's why he was glad to return to the dugout to manage the team's top prospects.

"I know most of the players, but not all of them," said Cox, who spent most of spring training in Florida. "I want to be sure that I'm familiar with everyone."

That Cox is taking his one-day assignment seriously is obvious.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I hope we have a good crowd."