Cox returns to bench to manage Braves' Future Stars

Cox returns to bench to manage Braves' Future Stars

ROME, Ga. -- Former Braves manager Bobby Cox returned to manage the Future Stars against the Braves for the third consecutive year. After two straight losses, Cox was eager to propel the Minor Leaguers into the win column this year.

"This is our third game now, and we're 0-2," Cox said before the game. "So, we're gonna tell our guys we gotta win this one. Just kidding."

The Future Stars did not let Cox down, defeating the Braves, 13-4, on Saturday afternoon at State Mutual Stadium.

"I was smart today," Cox said. "I let the manager and the coaches run the team -- [Class A Rome manager] Jonathan Schuerholz and the staff -- and look what happened."

Several of the organization's top prospects had the opportunity to spend some time with the Hall of Famer on Saturday. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Cox was a warmly welcomed presence.

"This is his time of year," Gonzalez said. "He loves watching the kids play, and the guys love him being around the clubhouse."

Cox, who lives 15 minutes from State Mutual Stadium, said his wife enjoys the short trek to Rome more than venturing out to Turner Field in Atlanta. Regardless of the venue, however, Cox likes getting back into the managerial role for a short time each year.

"These spikes are hurting a little bit, but it does feel good," Cox joked. "Once a year's not too bad."

While Cox was looking forward to getting a look at some of Atlanta's young players, he was especially excited about right-hander Jason Hursh, who started Saturday's game.

The Braves drafted Hursh with their first-round selection in last year's MLB First-Year Player Draft.

"He's got great movement on his fastball, which a lot of pitchers are more in love with velocity four-seamers now," Cox said. "This kid's got good sink on it. He's gonna be a typical groundball pitcher with some strikeouts in there also, so I like him a lot."

Hursh was equally impressed with Cox.

"I'm kind of just in awe a little bit," Hursh said. "It's like crazy. Bobby Cox is your head coach this game. He's pretty cool, though."

Hursh was a member of the Future Stars on Saturday, but Cox is confident that the right-hander, who is expected to begin this season with Double-A Mississippi, will shed the "future" label soon.

"He's gonna be a quick guy, I think, to get to the Major League club," Cox said.

Joe Morgan is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.