Red Sox

Alex Cora doesn't buy that pitching in ninth is harder than seventh or eighth, even as Red Sox relievers struggle

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Alex Cora doesn't buy that pitching in ninth is harder than seventh or eighth, even as Red Sox relievers struggle

BOSTON -- It sure looks like the Red Sox have a ninth-inning problem, but Alex Cora doesn't see it that way.

One day after his bullpen coughed up yet another ninth-inning lead in a 4-3 loss to the Rangers, Cora expressed confidence in his core relievers and disputed the notion that pitching in the ninth is any different than the seventh or eighth.

He also admitted he can't explain why the team ERA is so much worse in the ninth (6.00) than the seventh (4.03) and eighth (3.49).

"It's one of those that a lot of people have their thoughts about the ninth inning, that those three outs are bigger than the first 24," Cora said. "There's others that feel there's people that are ready for that one. They can do it there. I don't know. I really don't. I just feel that we're trying to maximize our talent. Maximize our strength and match it up with them."

Does Cora believe the idea that the ninth is harder has merit?

"I don't," he said. "I really don't. I just think if you execute pitches you get people out. Yesterday, we didn't and we paid the price."

On Monday, Matt Barnes allowed two runs while trying to protect a 2-1 lead against Texas. The Red Sox forced extra innings before losing in 11 innings. Do the Red Sox need to acquire another arm?

"We're always looking for ways to improve," Cora said. "That's what the organization has done. I do feel that we've got to put ourselves in a situation that, yeah, if we do this we're going to be elite again. So, I think thinking ahead, yeah, it's great, it's always great because that's what we do. But we need to get this right first and go from there."

Cora expressed confidence in what has emerged as his core group: Brandon Workman, Barnes, Marcus Walden, and right-hander Heath Hembree. He hopes the impending return of left-hander Brian Johnson provides depth.

"I think we're still getting people out," Cora said. "That has been going on. You compare us to other bullpens, yeah the saves are not there, but we're still doing a good job. We're still matching up and finding matchups that are going to benefit us.​"

Now if they could just figure out the ninth inning . . .

 
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MLB Rumors: Red Sox interested in Mark Kotsay for managerial opening

MLB Rumors: Red Sox interested in Mark Kotsay for managerial opening

The Boston Red Sox's search for their new manager has been rather slow, but a new candidate may be emerging.

The Red Sox reportedly have an interest in Oakland Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay, according to MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo.

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Although Kotsay, 44, a former outfielder who played for the Red Sox in 2008 and '09 in a major league playing career spanning more than 16 years, has no MLB managerial experience, he has worked in the San Diego Padres' front office as well as serving on the Padres and Athletics coaching staffs since retiring in 2013.

After firing Alex Cora earlier this month, the Red Sox have been linked to multiple managerial candidates, including Ron Roenicke, Jason Varitek, Dino Ebel and Joe McEwing. Although Boston is still in the thick of the managerial hunt with spring training approaching in two weeks, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported that the Red Sox are unlikely to make a hire before next week.

 

Mitch Moreland re-signs with Red Sox on one-year deal

Mitch Moreland re-signs with Red Sox on one-year deal

Mitch Moreland will return to Boston for the 2020 season.

The 34-year-old first baseman has re-signed with the Red Sox on a one-year deal with a club option for 2021, the team announced Tuesday. 


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It's a $3 million contract for Moreland, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Moreland missed time with multiple injuries in 2019, hitting .252 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI in 91 games.

To make room for Moreland on the roster, right-hander Denyi Reyes was designated for assignment.