Red Sox

Red Sox Notebook: Alex Cora thrilled to be back on job as spring training opens

(Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

After spending the entirety of the 2020 season in forced exile -- suspended for his role in the 2017 Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal -- Alex Cora officially got back to work Thursday and was more than happy to do so.

"It was a great day,'' Cora said after the Red Sox' pitchers and catchers concluded their first workout of the spring. "The last few days, you start thinking about what happened and where I was, and thinking about the family and the people who supported me throughout the process. I'll say it again: I was out of the game for the wrong reasons and deservedly so. But moving forward, I'm not going to hide it -- (today) was an outstanding day on a personal level.

"It was fun to drive to JetBlue Park the last few days. It was fun to tell the family that I'm working. It's fun to be around the players, it's fun to be with the Boston Red Sox. It's fun to be back in baseball. I missed the game. I've been around the game since I was four years old and although I watched from afar (last year), it's not the same. I'm glad that ownership and the front office and the Boston Red Sox trust me and that I'm managing this team.''

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Cora believes the Red Sox are contenders this season.

"We can contend in 2021,'' he said flatly. "This is a good baseball team. It's a team that's very versatile, dynamic, a bunch of good athletes....We're not one-dimensional. We have a good pitching staff. I'm very excited about what the organization has done since I (returned) in November. If you look at who we were in November and where we are now, we're a lot better. That's what we can control right now. I'm very happy with the players that we have.

"We have a good team and we have a chance to play in October. We do. We're very balanced, very versatile. If you get to October, you only have to win 11 or 12 (games), whatever it is. You take care of business in October. But we have a chance to play in October.''