Cox will call it quits after 2010

Bobby Cox will retire as manager of the Atlanta Braves after next season, ending an illustrious career in which he guided the team to 14 consecutive postseason appearances and the 1995 World Series title.

The 68-year-old Cox, a four-time Manager of the Year, agreed to a one-year contract extension for 2010, the Braves announced before Wednesday night’s game against the New York Mets. He will start a five-year consulting agreement with the team after he steps down as manager.

“They asked me to come back, and I said I would do it for one more year, and we’ll announce the retirement along with it. It’s the only way I think I’m ever going to walk away from the game, is to go ahead and say I’m going to, and then I’ve got to,” Cox said. “There’s no turning back now – win, lose or draw. Whatever happens, next year is going to be it.”

A cigar-smoking baseball lifer, Cox managed the Braves from 1978 to 1981, switched to manage the Toronto Blue Jays from 1982 to 1985, then returned to manage Atlanta in 1990.

Cox has 2,409 regular-season wins as a manager, fourth behind Connie Mack (3,731), John McGraw (2,763) and Tony La Russa (2,550). Cox and Joe McCarthy are the only managers with six 100-win regular seasons.

Benched Bradley apologizes

Suspended Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley apologized for behavior that led to general manager Jim Hendry’s decision to banish him for the rest of the season.

Bradley, who signed a $30 million, three-year contract in the offseason, struggled and was booed loudly at Wrigley Field. He said his frustration and disappointment caused him to act in a way he regrets.

“I wish that I handled certain things different and I apologize for those things that did not work out for the better,” he said in a statement. “The air has been cleared, and we all want to move on and look forward to better days.”

Short hops

Baltimore Orioles rookie outfielder Nolan Reimold underwent surgery to repair a partially torn left Achilles’ tendon and is expected to be ready for spring training. … Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was sent to Philadelphia for an MRI on his sprained left wrist, which showed no structural damage. He’ll miss three to five days.