FORT MYERS, Fla. — Alex Cora doesn’t have to so openly acknowledge the player mindset when a new manager arrives. But in the early going of his tenure as Red Sox manager, he’s offered what feels like a refreshing dose of honesty in his media sessions.
Yeah, you know what? Some players do look over the new guy with perhaps a dubious eye. Always have, always will. That’s how it is, so why pretend differently?
“Honestly, I feel very comfortable with the group,” Cora said. “It seems like the coaching staff helps me out in that sense. We have guys that have been part of this organization before, veteran guys like Ron [bench coach Ron Roenicke]. That’s going to help me. I don't expect them to quote-unquote ‘like me’ right away. Obviously as a player, I know I went through that process and it's always like, 'Let's see how he acts. Let's see what he brings to the table.' I'm comfortable. I'm comfortable with the situation, and comfortable with the group and this is going to work.”
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He wasn’t sure as of Tuesday what message he would deliver when the team first arrives. He could have simply said, it’s a secret, but hey, he’s thinking it through.
“Bear with my Spanglish,” Cora joked. “That’s very important. No, not yet. I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been here for a week and I’m going back and forth, how to address the team. Do I wait for everybody to be here, do I talk to pitchers and catchers tomorrow. I don't know. Like I said my style is yet to be determined but one thing for sure, enjoy the process. Relax through it. That’s very important, because the more you enjoy it and more relaxing the environment, the better it’s going to be for you. That’s going to be part of it.”
He’s not tipping his hand everywhere, though. The question of playing time behind the plate will linger. Will Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon were divided up based on the pitcher in the past. But Vazquez could enter a lead role in 2018.
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“I anticipate that we’re going to have a great defensive catcher, a general behind the plate that is going to execute the game plan,” Cora said. “Both of them are capable. On a daily basis we’ll see. And both are really really good. I know they don’t get enough credit offensively, but they can do a lot of things offensively that can also help our team. We’re going to be well covered on a daily basis behind the plate.”