USA Today Sports

Alex Cora: Red Sox win record 'doesn't mean anything to me'

Rob Bradford
September 05, 2018 - 12:43 pm

ATLANTA -- It wasn't difficult to see what Alex Cora was doing when rolling out his lineup Wednesday.

Rest has been a priority from Day 1 and continues to be so heading through September.

"I do. I do. I know they do too. They appreciate it too," said the Red Sox manager when asked if he believed the players grasped the benefit of taking days off. "Mookie (Betts) was supposed to play today and he came up to me yesterday because I offered him the off day a few days ago before he got here. He said, ‘No, I have family in town I want to play three games.’ I’m like, ‘Sure.’ Yesterday he came up to me in like the seventh and said, ‘How about that off day?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ They understand. Now they realize it’s needed. We’ve been lucky with the weather the whole season. There haven’t been too many horrible days as far as heat. I can count them. Two in Boston. One in Washington. And probably the first two here. I think we’re lucky. They understand it’s good for them. Now they have the two days off. It’s beneficial for them. They’re not afraid to ask for an off day which is a cool thing about it."

Heading into Wednesday there wasn't a single Red Sox player who cracked the top 35 in Major League Baseball in terms of innings played in the field, with Andrew Benintendi leading the team with 1110.1 innings (37th). Next on the list was Jackie Bradley Jr. (54th) followed by Xander Bogaerts (72nd).

Last year Mookie Betts totaled the fourth-most innings in the field, with Benintendi coming in at (23rd).

Over and over Cora has preached that he wouldn't be chasing wins, and that approach isn't going to be altered even with the organization record for wins (105) just nine away with 22 games to go.

"It doesn’t mean anything to me, to be honest with you. If it happens it happens," Cora said of the team record for wins. "We’re not going to push for anything, push to win series. If we do that everything else will take care of itself but when I signed here in November I had my own goals and 105 was way ... I didn’t even think about 105. So I think the most important thing is to be ready to do what we’re supposed to do in September, make it to October and then it’s 11 games in October. That’s the main goal. Instead of winning 12 we want to win 11 and that’s the goal right now. If it happens I know it’s great. We keep playing good baseball and we can win series eventually it’s going to happen but it’s nothing we’re shooting for."