On the day the Atlanta Braves retired Greg Maddux’s number, his former manager Bobby Cox led the praises.
“I get asked by managers and press people all the time, how good was he?” Cox said. “Was he the best pitcher I ever saw? Was he the smartest pitcher I ever saw? Was he the best competitor I ever saw? Was he the best teammate I ever saw?
“The answer is yes to all the above.”
Maddux was always grouped with Tom Glavine and John Smoltz as the team’s most dominant starting pitchers. Maddux said his former teammates also deserve their places in the team’s history.
“When you talk about Atlanta pitching, there’s always three names you mention, there’s never just one,” Maddux said Friday.
Many predict each of the three are bound for baseball’s Hall of Fame. Glavine, released by the Braves last month, has not announced his retirement. Smoltz is in his first season with the Boston Red Sox.
The 43-year-old Maddux was inducted into the Braves’ Hall of Fame at a luncheon attended by about 900 fans. He had his No. 31 retired Friday night before the Braves beat the New York Mets, 11-0.
The Boston Red Sox activated third baseman Mike Lowell off the 15-day disabled list and promoted right-hander Clay Buchholz from Triple-A Pawtucket to start Friday night against Toronto. To make room on the roster, Boston designated shortstop Julio Lugo for assignment and optioned first baseman Aaron Bates to Triple-A. … Gary Sheffield is the latest prominent name on the New York Mets’ long injury list. Sheffield left Friday night’s loss to Atlanta after sustaining an apparent leg injury. … El Duque’s comeback attempt with the Texas Rangers has ended. Texas released Orlando Hernandez from his minor league contract, making the right-hander a free agent just more than a month after he signed. Hernandez was 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in eight relief appearances for Triple-A Oklahoma City since being activated three weeks ago. He had 12 strikeouts and four walks in 11 innings. … Royals right fielder Jose Guillen was not on hand for Kansas City’s game against Tampa Bay because he was late getting back from the Dominican Republic, where he spent the All-Star break.