Alex Cora doesn’t know what he’s doing.
OK, that might be dramatizing it too much. The new Boston Red Sox manager has been around major league locker rooms for a while now, and his experience as the Houston Astros’ bench coach last season should serve him well.
But Cora admitted Tuesday he’s still unsure how to get his message across to a club he took over in November as part of his first managerial gig ever.
“I’ve been here for a week, and I’ve been going back and forth on how to address the team,” Cora told reporters Tuesday in his first press conference from JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla. “Do I wait for everybody to be here? Do I talk to the pitchers and catchers tomorrow? I don’t know. My style is yet to be determined.”
Some would interpret Cora’s candid remarks as him being unprepared for a difficult job. The 42-year-old appears perfectly fine with learning on the fly, though.
“I’ve been making adjustments since (being hired) Nov. 2,’ Cora said. “Talked to players, talked to coaches, front office, everybody. Everybody’s in the same boat. Honestly, I feel very comfortable with the group.
“… I don’t expect them to ‘like’ me right away. Obviously, as a player, I went through the process, and it’s always like, ‘Let’s see how he acts, let’s see what they bring to the table.’ But I’m comfortable with the situation.”
Cora’s comfort stems from his concerted effort to get to know his players and staff. In that sense, you could define his “style” as a player’s manager whose relationship with individuals goes beyond the diamond.
“If you only concentrate on baseball, it becomes a grind,” Cora, who also noted players must “bear with my Spanglish,” added. “It becomes a long season. So, you have to connect with them and learn about their families and learn about them off the field. That makes it a more fulfilling experience.”
That’s the approach he’s taken with David Price, who admitted Tuesday he’s developed a good relationship with Cora over “casual” discussions, some of which have involved the pitcher’s 8-month-old son.
Time will tell if Cora’s methods translate into success, but at the very least, he’s already adopting transparency as a best policy.
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