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04/17/08 7:47 PM ET

Cox calls rare team meeting for Braves

Skipper reminds player to keep focus during rough stretch

MIAMI -- Braves manager Bobby Cox rarely calls team meetings. But before Thursday evening's series finale against the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium, the veteran skipper decided to bring his players together to make sure they remain focused through the current rough stretch.

"He just wanted to remind us to keep working hard and grinding it out," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. "This game isn't easy, and it's a long season."

Since Jones arrived in the Majors for good in 1995, there have been few instances when Cox has opted to call a pregame team meeting. But while losing six of the first eight games of the current road trip, the Braves have endured one of their most trying stretches in recent memory.

Along with the losses on the field, the Braves have also seen their top two relievers -- Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano -- go on the disabled list. Tom Glavine suffered a hamstring injury that he hopes proves healthy during Saturday's start and Tim Hudson is holding out hope that the decline in velocity he realized on Wednesday night isn't a sign of a physical ailment.

Obviously, plenty has gone wrong for the Braves recently and that's what prompted Cox to call this five-minute meeting that, apparently, was rather calm.

"There were some things that needed to be said," Jones said. "But we are right there. We either aren't throwing a pitch in the right location and it kills us. Or we hit a bullet and it's right at somebody."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.