Red Sox

John Henry 'had every intention' to keep Alex Cora, until this possibility arose

John Henry 'had every intention' to keep Alex Cora, until this possibility arose

With Alex Cora at the center of MLB's rapidly-developing sign-stealing scandal, the Boston Red Sox opted to part ways with their manager on Tuesday. 

It wasn't an easy decision for Red Sox ownership to make. In fact, John Henry and Co. weren't going to cut bait with Cora until a nightmare scenario was brought to their attention.

NBC Sports Boston's own Gary Tanguay reported Thursday on Early Edition that Henry planned on keeping Cora as manager until the possibility that the organization's 2018 World Series title might get vacated.

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Tanguay explained in more detail:

John Henry had every intention to keep Alex Cora as the Red Sox manager, despite Cora's impending suspension from Major League Baseball. When the possibility arose that the Red Sox could be stripped of their 2018 World Series title, the owner threw him out of the boat. The owner gave up his manager. He was the sacrificial lamb. The Red Sox and the Astros are nervous they could lose their championships. Lot of anxiety at Fenway Park, I was told.

The Red Sox said in their official statement that Cora and the team "mutually agreed" to part ways. 

Cora played a major role in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal during his time as their bench coach in 2017. His dismissal from the Red Sox came on the heels of the Astros firing manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.

MLB's investigation into the 2018 Red Sox' alleged sign-stealing is ongoing. 

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Alex Verdugo injury: Red Sox outfielder gives latest timeline for his debut

Alex Verdugo injury: Red Sox outfielder gives latest timeline for his debut

Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo likely will make the most prodund impact in the 2020 season of any player the team acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade, but fans might not see the 23-year-old on the field for a while.

Verdugo is dealing with a stress fracture in his back, and as a result, he's unlikely to be in the Red Sox lineup against the Toronto Blue Jays for the March 26 Opening Day game at Rogers Centre. A back injury also forced him to end his 2019 season in early September.

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"It'll probably be just a little bit after opening day," Verdugo told a few young Red Sox fans Wednesday while signing autographs at spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. When asked if he would return a couple weeks after Opening Day, Verdugo responded, "Yeah, I think a couple weeks."

Check out the exchange in the video below:

Verdugo batted .294 with 12 home runs, 44 RBI and a .342 on-base percentage in 106 games for the Dodgers last season. He was one of three players, including shortstop Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong, acquired by the Red Sox from the Dodgers in exchange for Betts and starting pitcher David Price.

WIth Verdugo not expected to be healthy for Opening Day, newly acquired Kevin Pillar likely will begin the season as the starting right fielder alongside Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr.

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How Jonathan Lucroy factors into Red Sox' catcher plans after signing

How Jonathan Lucroy factors into Red Sox' catcher plans after signing

Jonathan Lucroy officially is a member of the Boston Red Sox.

But don't expect him to challenge Christian Vazquez for the starting catcher job.

The Red Sox have added Lucroy to their spring training roster as a non-roster invite, the team announced Wednesday.

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That means the 33-year-old catcher is on a minor league contract, as Mass Live's Chris Cotillo reported Tuesday morning, and likely will begin the year at Triple-A Pawtucket unless he outperforms current backup Kevin Plawecki in spring training.

Lucroy also will face competition from four other non-roster invites: Juan Centeno, recent addition Connor Wong, Roldani Baldwin and Jett Bandy.

Plawecki figures to be the No. 2 to Vazquez, who caught a career-high 138 games last season.

Lucroy has a more impressive pedigree -- he's a two-time All-Star and 10-year MLB veteran who spent five seasons as Ron Roenicke's catcher on the Milwaukee Brewers -- but hasn't been very effective while bouncing between five teams over the last four seasons.

The Red Sox appear to be making a minimal investment in Lucroy, though, which could pay off if he has a strong 2020 spring training.