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Alex Cora on OMF downplays Mookie Betts playing second base: 'Chances are slim'

Alex Reimer
October 23, 2018 - 3:44 pm
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There’s been lots of speculation over the last several days about whether Mookie Betts will play second base in Los Angeles over the weekend. While Red Sox manager Alex Cora won’t shoot the idea down, it seems like Betts will likely stay in the outfield once the series shifts to Dodger Stadium.

In Cora’s weekly interview with OMF Tuesday, the Red Sox manager said Betts has been taking ground balls at second in an effort to prepare himself for every scenario imaginable. Betts, who grades as the best defensive outfielder in baseball, played second base for six innings this year, and last played the position regularly in 2014. 

“I can’t say he’s not going to start, but the chances of him playing second base are slim,” Cora said. “At the same time, we have to be prepared. I got thrown out once, and I’m watching on TV, and all of a sudden he’s playing second base against the Yankees. Ron Roenicke put him at second. So double switches, we’ve got Brock (Holt), knowing we have Ian, we’ve got Blake. We just have to be prepared. Maybe he’ll play one inning in the seventh and then go back to the outfield, just like they do with (Chris) Taylor and Enrique Hernandez. We’re just prepared. Last night, we were watching the basketball game, and when they asked Mookie about playing second base, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a big topic.’”

Cora did provide a little bit of insight about his planned lineup in Los Angeles, saying J.D. Martinez will shift to right field while Betts goes to center. But overall, Cora says it doesn’t matter who’s starting for his team. Everybody is in it together. To illustrate his point, Cora relayed some stories about how members of the Red Sox starting staff all voluntarily made themselves available out of the bullpen against Houston last round.

“We’re in Houston after the off-day, batting practice is over. David had just pitched 4.2 innings here. After BP, you have to go by the training room, and David is like, ‘AC, I’m available.’ I said, ‘Yeah, you’re available tomorrow out of the bullpen.’ He said, ‘No, no, I’m available today,’” Cora said. “Then Porcello goes four innings in Game 4. I take him out, and he goes, ‘That was embarrassing. I’m available tomorrow.’ Nate Eovaldi, I don’t even tell him to put the spikes on. He puts his spikes on and goes out towards the bullpen before Game 5. That’s where we’re at right now. They’re all in. It doesn’t mean I’m going to use them, but the fact they’re going out there to the bullpen, it makes a difference. 

“Right now, it doesn’t matter who’s going to start and not start. You’ve got to be in that clubhouse. It’s very powerful. You go in, and everyone is in the same boat.”

 

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