0

Braves notebook: Cox leaves camp after mother-in-law dies

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Manager Bobby Cox will miss the Atlanta Braves' first full-squad workout on Wednesday, leaving camp to be with his family after the death of his mother-in-law.

Cox flew back to Georgia late Monday after getting word that Dell Boswell had died from a long-term illness. Funeral services were scheduled for today, and the manager hopes to be back in Florida the following day.

Cox missed the arrival of slugger Mark Teixeira, who was among those reporting Tuesday. The first baseman even got in a few swings on the main field, jumping into the cage after the formal workout ended.

Injury update

Chuck James is still on schedule to take the mound for the first time today.

James, an 11-game winner each of the last seasons, is trying to come back from a partially torn rotator cuff without having surgery.

The left-hander made 75 throws from 120 feet in the outfield Monday, the last major step before he tries it off the mound.

'I thought I would be sore, but I'm not,' he said. 'I've done everything but throw off the mound. It feels good.'

Meanwhile, infielder Omar Infante is hopeful of getting the cast on his left hand removed this weekend.

He was hit by a pitch during a Venezuelan winter league game and needed surgery to install in a pin in his fractured hand.

'I'm going to see the doctor on Saturday,' Infante said, looking at his cast. 'Maybe they can take this off.'

Acquired from the Chicago Cubs in December, Infante is favored to land a backup role in the Braves infield.

Meeting time

The area behind the batting cage was especially crowded Tuesday, though not necessarily with people in uniform.

Most of the Braves' top officials were in town to get a look at the team and hold organizational meetings.

The group included chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk, president John Schuerholz and a pair of executive vice presidents, Mike Plant and Derek Schiller.

Schuerholz is settling into his new role as president, having given up the general manager job to longtime understudy Frank Wren.

While he misses the idea of putting together a roster, Schuerholz said he has no regrets about moving upstairs in the front office. If nothing else, his biting wit is still intact.

Commenting on a noticeable weight loss since last season, he said, 'It must be the pressures of my new job.'

Look up

A small plane flew overhead during the morning workout, writing out religious messages with a trail of smoke.

At one point, the plane had drawn a 'T' and was getting started on a new letter that resembled 'P.'

'TP, did you pay for that?' Mark Kotsay quipped to the team's hitting coach, Terry Pendleton.

'I hope that says something else by the time he's done,' Pendleton shot back.

Within seconds, the 'P' became an 'R.'

SideBar: Spring training

First game: Braves vs. University of Georgia

When: 1:05 p.m. Feb. 27

Where: Orlando, Fla.