Red Sox

Cora should seize chance to set tone in introductory press conference

Cora should seize chance to set tone in introductory press conference

BOSTON — Alex Cora’s introductory press conference at noon Monday must pack a lot into a little time, a reflection of the beginning of his Red Sox tenure on a whole. The learning curve on the job will be steep as a first-year manager taking over a 93-win team that has not only won consecutive division titles, but is also staring at a shrinking competitive window

Some of the talk at Fenway Park will revisit Cora’s previous time in Boston, as a player from 2005-08. He’ll have a remembrance of the World Series run in 2007, and what brought a 14-year big leaguer to his first career job in the big chair. Maybe we’ll get a sense of just how close he and Dustin Pedroia remain.

Managerial introductions are always celebratory. But Cora’s inauguration will stand out because he represents a landmark for the Red Sox and for the people of Puerto Rico: he’s the first Hispanic manager in club history. The Herald’s Michael Silverman discussed the broader context of Cora’s hiring at length in a piece that ran Sunday. 

Beyond the getting-to-know-you talk, Cora should face some questions about the Red Sox’ future — questions that deserve something at least resembling legitimate answers.

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Some things will be chalked up to, “We’ll see,” and “Time will tell.” But after the Sox said virtually nothing about why John Farrell was fired, they’d do well to talk about the vision moving forward.

By the end of the presser, Cora will have done well to establish some concrete platforms: clear beliefs and some planned approaches.

We can’t get carried away with expectations for Day 1, though. Who knows how many Sox players Cora has been able to reach, if any, at this point, and for what length of time.

On Friday, Cora was riding down the Houston streets, celebrating a seven-game World Series win over the Dodgers for his Astros. He served as the bench coach in Houston, a one-year stint that makes him nowhere close to a seasoned vet when it comes to running the show. 

This is a breakneck transition all around. Cora can’t provide bullet points of planned private conversations with the likes of David Price and Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. But the Price topic, and how he would have handled the pitcher’s encounter with Dennis Eckersley, is one that Cora can’t entirely sidestep either. 

Cora can address broadly what his expectations are for his players, about the identity he wants to establish with a Red Sox team that struggled to find one following David Ortiz’s departure. 

The manager sets the tone, and Monday is Cora’s first chance to do just that.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

The Baseball Show Podcast: J.D. Martinez on pace for monster season

The Baseball Show Podcast: J.D. Martinez on pace for monster season

Lou Merloni and Red Sox insider Evan Drellich debate and discuss some of the week's biggest Red Sox topics, presented by Twin River Casino. . .

0:22 - With a pair of homers on Sunday vs. the Orioles, J.D. Martinez continued his hot streak and is on pace to surpass the team's expectations of him. Lou and Evan discuss Martinez's power to all fields and how his hitting approach has had a positive impact on his teammates.

6:44 - Lou and Evan break down the ugly situations for Carson Smith, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Blake Swihart and discuss what the club can do to deal with the struggles of all three players.

13:40 - Evan and Lou go around the horn and look at a few headlines from around the league: Robinson Cano's 80-game suspension, the Cubs interest in Manny Machado and Dustin Pedroia's nearing return to the Red Sox.

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NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

J.D. Martinez's 2 vastly different HRs lead Red Sox past O's

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AP Photo

J.D. Martinez's 2 vastly different HRs lead Red Sox past O's

J.D. Martinez hit two vastly different drives for his first multihomer game with Boston, powering Eduardo Rodriguez and the Red Sox to a 5-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

Martinez drove in three runs, and Andrew Benintendi had a two-run homer among his three hits as the Red Sox won three of four in the series to improve to 6-1 against Baltimore this season.

Signed to a $110 million, five-year deal as a free agent in February, the 30-year-old Martinez sliced his first homer an estimated 324 feet around the Pesky Pole in right field. He hammered his second to the deepest part of Fenway Park - projected at 443 feet over the center-field triangle for his 15th of the season.

The Orioles got 13 hits but lost for the 15th time in 16 road games and dropped to a major league-worst 4-19 away from Camden Yards. Adam Jones had three of Baltimore's 12 singles.

Rodriguez (4-1) scattered nine hits, struck out seven and didn't walk a batter in 5 2/3 innings.

Leading 1-0 in the fifth, the Red Sox chased David Hess (1-1) and took charge with four runs. Benintendi hit his shot into the Orioles' bullpen after Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled leading off.

Mitch Moreland doubled before Martinez belted his second homer of the day. His first came in the second inning.

Hess gave up five runs and eight hits over 4 2/3 innings in his second major league start.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: 1B Chris Davis was out of the lineup because he's been struggling against left-handers, batting only .139 (5 for 36).

Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora gave DH-1B Hanley Ramirez, in a 5-for-26 slump with no extra-base hits in his last six games, the day off "to work on a few things and keep him off his feet." . Cora did the same for shortstop Xander Bogaerts, saying: "I think he only had like one off day since coming back from the DL." Bogaerts was sidelined April 9-27 with an injured left ankle. . 2B Dustin Pedroia (recovering from left knee surgery in the offseason) was slated to be the DH in a rehab game at Triple-A Pawtucket.

LIKE AN INFIELDER

Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski played a foul ball that sailed into his box behind home plate on the bounce, picking it up from a tabletop in front of him. Next to him was former Red Sox right fielder Dwight Evans, who won eight Gold Gloves in his career.

UP NEXT

Orioles: RHP Andrew Cashner (1-5, 4.83 ERA) starts Monday in the opener of a three-game series at the Chicago White Sox.

Red Sox: After an off day, LHP Chris Sale (4-1, 2.29) pitches Tuesday at Tampa Bay. Sale has allowed three or fewer runs in all 10 of his starts.

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