Alex Cora Downplays Red Sox’s Need For Speedy Pinch-Runner On Bench

There’s a chance the Boston Red Sox don’t win the 2004 World Series without Dave Roberts, the speedy outfielder who stole second base in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

His theft paved the way for Bill Mueller’s game-tying single, David Ortiz’s game-winning home run and all that followed, including Boston’s comeback after being down 3-0 in the ALCS and, ultimately, the Red Sox’s first World Series title in 86 years.

This reality is why Roberts’ name lives on in Boston sports lore. And it’s also why this year’s team theoretically could consider adding a speedster this month while new acquisitions still are eligible to crack Boston’s postseason roster. After all, the Red Sox, who acquired Roberts before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline in 2004, have pursued similar players in recent years ahead of the playoffs — a list that includes Rajai Davis, Quintin Berry and Joey Gathright.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora doesn’t believe the club needs that type of player, though, despite being reminded in Monday night’s loss to the Cleveland Indians that it certainly would help to have an extra body with game-changing speed on the bench.

“Nah, I mean, we’ve got Blake (Swihart) right now,” Cora told reporters Tuesday before the Red Sox’s game against the Indians, per WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.

“(Monday) we were in a situation that we felt we were all in in the eighth to either score a run or flip the lineup. And we were able to flip the lineup and then we didn’t have a pinch-runner for Mitch (Moreland in the ninth inning),” Cora added. “When it got to 3-2, two outs, I was like, ‘Yeah, here we go because he’s going to have a running lead.’ But I think when Blake doesn’t come into a game to catch, he’s fast enough that he can steal a base. He’s not a burner, but he’s fast enough that he can steal a base or score from first.

“We’re not going to use (pitchers) Joe (Kelly) or Rick (Porcello). I do feel that they can, but obviously, we’ll stay away from that. They’re probably the two best athletes with David (Price), but I think Blake can do that now, the rest of the month, or even in September.”

So, there you have it. While Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski could continue to work the phones before Aug. 31 in the hopes of securing a speedster, Cora is confident the absence of such won’t prove detrimental to Boston’s World Series quest in 2018.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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