Thursday, March 11, 2010
Cora might have a future in this game
By Joe McDonald
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With the Boston Red Sox in town to play the New York Mets in Grapefruit League action, the majority of the focus was on Jason Bay.
The former Red Sox outfielder signed a four-year $66-million deal as a free agent with the Mets during the offseason, but there was another Mets player who was also getting a lot of attention on Thursday morning -- Alex Cora.
Cora played four seasons (2005-2008) in Boston and was very popular in the clubhouse. He played a key role as a utility man on the field, and as a mentor off the field. It wasn’t unusual during his stint in Boston to hear manager Terry Francona describe Cora as a wealth of knowledge with a possible future as a manager.
“Yes. Yeah. He pays attention. I would say yes. I don’t doubt he would want to do that,” said Francona. “He’s good. He did a good job. You could tell his influence on bench guys. Sometimes you have guys sitting on the bench, and rarely do bench guys take guys up. Most of the time you hope they don’t drag guys down. He had a special way of doing that. He could give guys a nudge and say, ‘Hey, man, go get loose because this is what could happen here.’ He’s a pretty special guy.”
When he wasn’t playing, Cora was invaluable to have in the dugout because of his ability to pick up the opposition’s signs and pitches.
“He’s good, real good,” said Francona. “Each team has a couple of those guys. He’s good. He’s a guy who [playing] jobs will keep opening up because teams want him around. He knows how to play the game and he’s a great influence on the players.”
Either in the dugout or in the front office, Cora definitely wants to stay in the game once his career is over.
“You love the game and understand that you have a passion about it, when the time comes and the time is right, it’s something I would love to do,” he said.