Alex Cora’s First Impression: Most Interesting Things Red Sox Manager Said Tuesday

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The Boston Red Sox wanted a new voice in the manager’s office, and boy did they get just that by replacing John Farrell with Alex Cora.

Cora made his first trip as manager to the Red Sox spring training complex picnic tables Tuesday to meet with the media as the club gets set to officially open for business on the 2018 season.

There’s already a stark difference in the way Cora and Farrell handle themselves and communicate, which was to be expected. While Farrell wasn’t necessarily standoffish during his tenure, he certainly had a way of saying a lot without actually saying anything. If Tuesday’s media session is any indication, Cora certainly will bring a change of pace, at least in the beginning.

You can watch Cora’s press conference here, but you also can find the highlights below.

— He’s still figuring out his managing style.
We dug into this topic here, so go read that, too.

— He’s refreshingly honest about being unsure of some things in his first go-round as a major league manager.
“I’ve been here for a week, and I’ve been going back and forth how to address the team; do I wait for everybody to be here? Do I talk to the 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 the more relaxing the environment is, the better it’s going to be for you.”

— He won’t shy away from the pressure of Boston. In fact, he’s embracing the challenge.
“My expectations are as high as the fan base, so nothing changes. We all understand that it’s a city that sportswise is amazing. You’ve got the Celtics, you’ve got the Patriots, you’ve got the Bruins, you’ve got us. Winning is contagious, and it’s fun. With that, expectations come into play. The expectations of the staff, myself, the organization from top to bottom, they’re the same. You’ve got to embrace that.

“I don’t see it as an obstacle like most people see it. I see it as something challenging but it’s fun, it’s fun to be part of this environment. There are certain days that I know people don’t like to accept that, but over 162 days there are certain days that you need something to push you, and that’s what pushes you a little bit more. That helps you to perform.”

— Expect a stronger emphasis on the player-manager relationship. Whereas Farrell didn’t seem very close to his players, at least from afar, Cora seems intent on not only learning more about his players on the field but off the field, too.
“There’s more that goes in their lives and my life (than baseball). David (Price), in his case, he has a baby — 8 or 9 months old. I’ve got mine; they’re 6 (months old). So we can talk about that, how we go about that. All kidding aside, I’ve been saying it, man. You’re human beings. If you just concentrate on baseball, it becomes a grind. It becomes a long season, so you have to connect with them and learn about their families and learn about them off the field and that makes it a more fulfilling experience.”

— He wouldn’t tip his hand on the catching position but is confident in both Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon. The third catcher, Blake Swihart, figures to get plenty of chances around the diamond, including some time at second base.
“The ground ball part, (Swihart) asked where he should take ground balls. It doesn’t matter. Go to one spot. I just want you to move your feet, and we’ll go from there. We’re going to challenge him and he’s up to the challenge.”

— He spoke very highly of Xander Bogaerts and believes with a few adjustments, Bogaerts can again be one of the best shortstops in baseball. Cora also said he can’t stop thinking about this at-bat from the American League Division Series for which he was in the Houston Astros dugout as bench coach.

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