ATLANTA -- Greg Maddux, Gary Sheffield, Fred McGriff and David Justice are among the former Braves players who are expected to be present for the Bobby Cox tribute that will precede Saturday afternoon's game against the Phillies.
The Braves have requested that fans be in their seats Saturday by 3 p.m. ET. Chipper Jones is expected to serve as one of the speakers during the on-field pregame ceremony that will honor Cox, who began his managerial career as the Braves' skipper in 1978.
After concluding a four-year stint as the Blue Jays' manager, Cox returned to Atlanta at the end of the 1985 season to serve as the Braves' general manager. He began his current tenure as their manager midway through the 1990 season.
The Braves announced that tickets remain for each of this weekend's three games. They began selling $20 standing-room-only tickets earlier this week.
Prado can't believe breakout season is done
ATLANTA -- Before undergoing an MRI exam Tuesday, Martin Prado knew that he was likely dealing with a couple of ailments that would sideline him for more than just a couple of days. But the Braves' All-Star infielder still found himself in disbelief when he learned his season was complete.
"It's still hard to swallow," Prado said. "But I've got to get over it and just help my teammates, just be around and help them as much as I can. They've been very supportive of me. I'm not going to let them down."
When Prado returned to the Braves' clubhouse at Turner Field on Wednesday afternoon, he was still limping very gingerly and looking depressed. The MRI revealed that he has a torn left oblique muscle and a left hip pointer.
The Braves' medical staff informed him that he will need to rest for two months before attempting to resume any baseball-related activities. It appears that the 26-year-old Venezuelan infielder will be ready by the time Spring Training arrives.
"I'm going to do as much as I can to make sure I'll be ready before that," Prado said. "I'm not going to give up. I feel like this is just a bump in the road. I'm glad this happened when I was playing and not when I was doing something else. I was doing something that I love."
Prado likely suffered both injuries during Monday's fourth inning, while leaping and stretching across his body to catch a Dan Uggla liner that seemed destined to find the left-field corner. He landed on his left hip. He then aggravated his hip while diving for another ball in the top of the fifth inning.
The crushing blow occurred in the bottom half of the fifth, when he hit a chopper back to the mound and immediately felt a pop in his left side. The pain proved significant enough that he fell to the ground after taking a step or two out of the batter's box.
"I was hoping to finish my season and when we clinch [a postseason berth] to just be part of it, no matter how painful it was," Prado said. "Every time I got an injury, I didn't care. I just want to go out there and enjoy every single day that I can playing baseball."
Taking advantage of his first chance to begin a season as an everyday player, Prado hit .307 with a career-high 15 homers and 66 RBIs this year. He served as the National League's starting second baseman in this year's All-Star Game and was arguably the Braves' most valuable player.
In many ways this was a memorable season for Prado. But it was tarnished by a broken right pinky that he incurred on July 30 and a groin strain that had plagued him over the course of the past couple weeks.
"Before the season started, I expected a lot of good things, because I worked hard for it," Prado said. "I just realize in life, you never know where you're going to be tomorrow or what's going to happen. I guess I'm just going to prepare myself for next year still expecting good things to happen."
Bullpen sessions go well for Jurrjens, Saito
ATLANTA -- Jair Jurrjens and Takashi Saito were both encouraged after completing relatively pain-free bullpen sessions before the Braves concluded a three-game series with the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon.
Saito exited his 27-pitch session with the confidence that his troublesome right shoulder was strong enough for him to immediately rejoin the Braves' bullpen mix. But sidelined since feeling shoulder discomfort during a Sept. 18 appearance, the 40-year-old reliever said he was somewhat concerned about how effective he would be with his command.
Jurrjens completed what he termed a normal bullpen session while feeling just some discomfort in his right knee, which has plagued him since he tweaked it during a Sept. 18 bullpen session. The 24-year-old right-hander has responded favorably since beginning to take some anti-inflammatory medication Monday.
When Jurrjens attempted a bullpen session Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park, he was forced to stop after throwing about four pitches at full strength. Most of the discomfort he realized Wednesday came when he attempted to throw his slider.
"It's a big [turnaround]," Jurrjens said. "Hopefully I can keep the pain away and be comfortable pitching."
Braves manager Bobby Cox said there's a chance he could use Jurrjens as a reliever during this weekend's series against the Phillies. That might at least give him some indication about whether it would be wise to put Jurrjens on the National League Division Series roster if the Braves gain a postseason berth.
Wild Card Braves would get shorter series
ATLANTA -- If the Braves earn the right to serve as the National League's Wild Card participant, they would participate in the Division Series format that extends over seven days.
Having secured the NL's best record, the Phillies chose to participate in the eight-day NLDS. Because there is an off-day situated between the first two games of that format, they would have the opportunity to use just three starting pitchers -- Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.
The seven-day NLDS format would stage Games 1 and 2 on Oct. 7-8. If the Braves are participating, Game 3 and Game 4, if necessary, would be at Turner Field on Oct. 10-11.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.