Spring training is kicking into high gear, with pitchers and catchers reported and the rest of the players streaming in daily. One of the great things is Alex Cora’s regular press conferences. Today he had some things to say about changes for Dustin Pedroia, among other things:

Alex Cora meets with the press at Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers

Still The Laser Show

The money quote comes around the 4:30 mark. When asked about Dustin Pedroia this was his answer:

“He’s in Tom Brady mode…He’s been doing it since 2006, so nothing’s different.”

Alex Cora on Dustin Pedroia

It is Cora’s bond with his players, especially with his former padawan Pedroia, that allow him to know them inside out, and coach them appropriately. Cora kicks off his answer about Pedroia with this positive comment, comparing him with the GOAT, before getting to the heart of the issue.

Slowing Down

Earlier today Pedroia had his opening press conference. And, as Sean McAdam writes, his career is filled with uncertainty.

“I’ve definitely worked pretty hard to get to this point, but I’m taking it one step at a time.”

Dustin Pedroia from Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers FL

Cora laid out the new plan for the hard charging D-Ped:

“He know’s there’s certain days that there’s…no on the field stuff for him”

This is, frankly, a complete sea change on everything to do with Pedroia. This was a guy who would take infield from his knees when his left foot was in a boot in the summer of 2010. A guy who pushed things way too hard and ended up playing only three games in 2018.

Where We’re Going

Cora has said that he’s looking for around 120 games for Pedroia this year. Before this winter, Pedroia would be fighting back, insisting he could play 150. But Alex Cora has the same touch with players coming back from injury that he does when making winning moves in the postseason.

“We talked a little bit two days ago about workload and all that. He understands that for this (Pedroia’s comeback) to happen he has to stay with us.”

Imagine John Farrell trying this. But Cora can lay out a plan, and talk about ‘staying with us’, and have it come across naturally and with authority.

Staying Positive

Cora went on to talk about how things happened last year, and how he feels about how Pedroia handled his lost 2018. This includes going back on the DL on June 2nd when the team was in Houston, after returning on May 25th on the roster move that rocked baseball, Hanley Ramirez being designated for assignment.

“He did an outstanding job last year. He was honest with us in Houston. When he came back from Arizona (rehab) he was a great teammate, a great leader.”

Alex Cora on Dustin Pedroia’s injury plagued 2018

Cora is telling us how much he believes in ‘Pedey’. There are shades of Terry Francona, and a proud big brother thing going on here, really driving home the family atmosphere that exists in the Red Sox clubhouse.

So where does Alex Cora see this going? After mirroring Pedroia from earlier, talking about taking it day by day, the eventual path to Opening Day on March 28th in Seattle?

“Like I’ve been saying all along, he’ll be leading off for us.”

With Pedroia on board and Cora leading the way, Pedroia has a chance to have his most successful season since 2016. It’s easy to imagine a line-drive single leading off the game, with Mookie and JD Martinez coming up behind him.

Pedroia isn’t full of bluster and proclamations. Alex Cora has his back, and his trust. And with rumors of Machado going to the Yankees, we could be in for as entertaining a summer as we had in 2018, which is pretty incredible.

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