ATLANTA --- Despite Atlanta's worst season since 1990, longtime Braves manager Bobby Cox vowed Wednesday to return next season.
The 67-year-old Cox signed a one-year contract extension in May, but his team was ravaged by injuries -- especially to the pitching staff -- and is 64-82, 181/2 games out of first in the NL East after a 9-5 win over Colorado on Wednesday.
Cox said the Braves' record -- good or bad -- would not be a factor in his decision to step aside, whenever that might be.
"I'm not going to decide my retirement based on wins and losses, or anything like that," he said. "I still love the game. It's fun. It's no fun to lose, but I look at it different than most people. The game is fun to me. Coming to the ballpark is fun. I enjoy being able to be a part of the game."
When Cox pointed out that he already had a contract for 2009, someone said the Braves would surely let him out of it if he had changed his mind. He's been managing the team since 1990.
"I won't change my mind," he insisted.
Cox is the fourth-winningest manager in major league history and likely headed to Cooperstown after he does decide to retire. The Braves won a record 14 consecutive division titles from 1991-04 and captured the city's lone World Series championship in 1995.
But the team has fallen off dramatically since its last division title. This will be second losing season in three years for the Braves.
During spring training in 2007, Cox hinted that he might retire at the end of this season.
But his outlook had changed when he reported to Florida this year, and he signed a contract extension less than two months after opening day.
"I would be shocked if Bobby wasn't back next year," lefty Tom Glavine said.
Despite the team's record, Cox feels he's still got plenty to offer from the dugout.
"Everybody is used to winning around here," he said. "But I'm probably better now than I've ever been."
JOHNSON, PARR HELP BRAVES BEAT ROCKIES
ATLANTA --- Kelly Johnson homered twice, James Parr pitched six more scoreless innings and the Atlanta Braves overcame a shaky bullpen to deal another blow to Colorado's fading playoff hopes, beating the Rockies 9-5 on Wednesday night.
Chipper Jones homered for the Braves, who won it with a five-run seventh after the Rockies scored four in the top half to tie the game.
Parr extended his scoreless streak to 12 innings since coming up from the minors and left with a 4-0 lead. But all his good work was quickly undone by Atlanta's hapless bullpen.
The 22-year-old Parr was denied the win but did become the first Braves pitcher since Kyle Davies in 2005 to pitch 12 scoreless innings at the start of his career, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
-- Associated Press