Originally created 08/05/99

Braves notebook: big fine painful for Cox



PITTSBURGH -- Bobby Cox served the first game of his two-game suspension Wednesday night seated in the clubhouse watching the Braves-Pirates game on TV.

"It's not like you're exiled," he said. "You see everybody around. It's not a big deal."

More painful was the $5,000 fine levied by National League president Leonard Coleman.

"That's too much money," Cox said. "(John Smoltz's) $1,500 fine is pretty high."

Eddie Perez chose to appeal his four-game suspension and is eligible to continue playing until Coleman hears his appeal, possibly as soon as next week in Atlanta.

Cox came in early as he normally does and filled out the lineup, but Pat Corrales took over as manager when the game started. Corrales is an old hand at the managing game, having served as manager for the Rangers, Phillies and Indians, as well as taking over in the Braves' dugout eight times this season when Cox was ejected.

Cox said he'd been suspended only once before, in 1980, when he became embroiled in a jaw-to-jaw discussion with umpire Jerry Dale following a play at second base.

Dale ruled shortstop Rafael Ramirez failed to touch the bag and by the time the two tobacco-chewing men finished the argument there was tobacco juice on both their faces.

HERNANDEZ STARTS:

Cox penciled in newcomer Jose Hernandez as the leadoff hitter and shortstop Wednesday night, his first start since coming to the Braves in Saturday night's trade with the Cubs.

Hernandez will remain in the lineup in tonight's series finale, as Cox starts to get a feel for how he'll use the versatile utility man.

"I want to see him play," Cox said. "I can't remember him in an entire series against us. I'm hitting him at leadoff, but I don't want him to change anything. I want him to hit his normal way."

MULHOLLAND TO START:

Terry Mulholland's debut hardly was the first impression he wanted to create for the Braves, yielding a three-run homer to Brian Giles in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's 7-1 loss.

Nonetheless, Cox plans to start him against the Giants Saturday afternoon at Turner Field, replacing Bruce Chen in the rotation.

"The time between now and then gives you an anxious feeling," Mulholland said. "I want to get out there and start contributing."

Bill Zack, who covers the Braves for The Augusta Chronicle, is based in Atlanta and can be reached at bzack30143@aol.com