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Alex Cora has a good reason to end Mookie Betts' leadoff streak on 2019 Opening Day

John Tomase
November 02, 2018 - 12:42 pm

Mookie Betts hit leadoff in every game he started this season, but Alex Cora plans on ending that streak on Opening Day in 2019.

Cora hopes to make an exception for a player who once meant every bit as much to the team as Betts did last year – and maybe will again.

Dustin Pedroia, Cora’s former teammate, was limited to three games because of complications from offseason knee surgery. The hope is that with a  full offseason, Pedroia can return to form in 2019.

“Like I told him, you guys can go ahead and write it, if he’s ready to go, that’s the only game he’s going to lead off next year,” Cora said. “He’ll lead off Opening Day. I told him that a few months ago because he deserves it. Mookie won’t lead off one game next year. That’s the goal.”

Pedroia underwent a cartilage restoration procedure on his left knee last October and missed the first two months of the season. He returned at the end of May and went 1-for-13 before shutting it down with soreness.

The 35-year-old remains signed through 2021 at reasonable rates and will be given every opportunity to reclaim his starting job when the Red Sox begin defending their title next season.

“It’s always tough,” Cora said. “Actually, to win it without him, it was tough enough. I told him, you’re going to impact this team regardless, on the field or off the field. What he did in the clubhouse was amazing, in the dugout, he was still the same guy showing up a half hour before the game in the dugout. We’ll see how it goes. I still expect him to contribute.”

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