USA Today Sports

Dustin Pedroia on Alex Cora friendship: 'It won't be weird at all'

Rob Bradford
January 12, 2018 - 9:17 am

As a rookie, Dustin Pedroia could be found virtually every day at 3:30 p.m. in the Red Sox dugout, sitting alongside Alex Cora while the two prepared to take pregame grounders. Cora had instantly become Pedroia's mentor, a relationship the young second baseman took advantage of on a daily basis.

Cora was the one who helped Pedroia get through that horrific first month in 2007, when the former Arizona State star ended up hitting .182 in his first month as a big league starter. And it didn't stop there. A bond was built, one which lasted well after each went their separate ways.

Now, Cora is Pedroia's manager. 

"It's pretty cool," Pedroia said when appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast. "He's been my closest teammate and friend in baseball, him and Mike Lowell, throughout my whole career. In 2012 I talked to him five or six times a week. We've always remained close because of what he did for me and how I looked up to him and how he helped teach me everything about the game at the big league level."

But because of the friendship, many wondered how the dynamic would work as Cora officially became Pedroia's boss. The Red Sox infielder is quick to explain why exactly this isn't going to be an issue.

"When I got up in the big leagues, that was his job, to make sure he taught me how to be professional, taught me how to play, taught me how to understand my role with the team at that time," Pedroia said. "Whatever he says I'll do. And that was like that before he was our manager. That's just how much he's meant to me and what he's done. And not just me, but a lot of guys he played with and who he's been around. You look at the Astros guys the way they talk about him and how he has helped them in just one year. He's pretty special.

"It's not going to be weird. To be honest with you even when I was playing with him he was telling me what to do. It was like that all the time. Put it this way, there was never a time where I told Alex, 'Go do this,' and he does it. He's always been the authority for me on everything. How to go about talking to teammates, or playing the game, or seeing things throughout the game. It won't be weird at all. It's going to be fun. It will be a great experience."

It was a topic that Cora also had to address during his introductory press conference.

"I want to make this clear. The relationship with me and Dustin Pedroia is going to be forever," Cora said. "Kelli Pedroia with my kids, that relationship is always going to be there. I love that kid, I love his family, they've been amazing for us, and that's not going to change. As a player, I think Pedey always looked up to me as a mentor, as a teacher. That's not going to change. He understands that back in the day when he was hitting .120 and everyone wanted me to play every day, and he was not the Laser Show, I was the one supporting him. Me and Mike Lowell, we were helping him out. Noting is going to change.

"He understands that I'm the manager and he's a player. I'm looking forward to managing him. With the attitude he brings, with the passion he has for the game, all he can do is help. We need him healthy, that's the most important thing, but when Dustin Pedroia's healthy, he can help any team. I'm happy he's on my team."

Besides his relationship with Cora, Pedroia also touched a variety of topics in the podcast, including why he believes returning for Opening Day is still an option, and how playing in Boston has changed over the years. To listen to his appearance on the Bradfo Sho, click here.

​ ​