CHICAGO -- While Jesse Chavez struggled throughout May, Braves manager Bobby Cox remained supportive of the right-handed reliever.
Chavez showed his appreciation on Tuesday night, by completing the final 4 1/3 innings in scoreless fashion after Tommy Hanson made an early exit in a game that could have proved to have been taxing on the club's bullpen.
"He had a good changeup and curveball working last night," Cox said before Wednesday's contest against the White Sox. "I remember him with the Pirates. He just came in and tried to blow it by you. He's pitching a lot more now. He's still throwing hard, but he's pitching."
Chavez opened the season by allowing just one run through his first seven appearances. But in the eight appearances he made from April 30-May 25, the 26-year-old right-hander posted a 13.11 ERA and allowed opponents to compile a .407 on-base percentage.
While Chavez has since been utilized in a limited role, he has recently provided some positive signs. In his past four appearances, he has worked 6 1/3 innings, allowed one earned run and surrendered four hits.
Thursday Cox's swan song in AL ballpark
CHICAGO -- When the Braves conclude their three-game series against the White Sox on Thursday afternoon, manager Bobby Cox certainly won't grow sentimental about the fact that he will never manage another regular-season game within the framework of the American League's rules.
The long-time skipper savors the fact that he spent 26 of his 30 seasons as a big league manager in the National League, where he was forced to make more in-game decisions on a nightly basis than his AL counterparts, whose lineup substitutions are limited by the presence of a designated hitter.
"I like the National League so much better," Cox said. "There is some upside to the DH, with resting players and stuff like that. But the use of the designated hitter changed the game and the way you play it."
With this being said, Cox felt fortunate that he was playing in an American League park on Tuesday night, when Tommy Hanson lasted just 3 2/3 innings and forced the early utilization of the bullpen. Instead of having to replace him with a pinch-hitter when it would have been his turn to bat, the veteran manager was able to allow Jesse Chavez to pitch 4 1/3 innings and rest the bullpen.
Had the game been played in Atlanta or any other NL park, Cox would have had to utilize more of his relievers, which would have affected some of the managerial decisions he would make over the course of the following few days. But it's been these kinds of decisions that have led him to have a greater appreciation of the NL game.
"There's just a lot of different things that run through your mind in the National League that never happen to you over here [in the AL]," Cox said.
Perez pays homage to Aparicio
CHICAGO -- Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez took some time on Wednesday afternoon to view U.S. Cellular Field's bronze statue of Luis Aparicio, the Hall of Fame shortstop who grew up in Perez's hometown of Maracaibo, Venezuela.
When Perez reached the big leagues with the Braves in 1995, he chose to wear the number 12 because it fell in the middle of the jersey numbers worn by his childhood hero Dave Concepcion (13) and his hometown's hero, Aparicio, who wore No. 11 throughout an 18-season career that concluded in 1973.
"Concepcion was my favorite, but I never got a chance to see Aparicio play," Perez said. "Now when I go home, I usually get a chance to talk to him. He's a legend. He's the only Venezuelan in the Hall of Fame."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.