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October 13, 2018

Alex Cora

Boston, Massachusetts - pregame 1

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions to Alex.

Q. Any advantage playing in cold weather against the Astros?
ALEX CORA: We're about to find out. But, man, these guys they get a lot of stuff now. You know, like back in the day it was a pair of sleeves and that was it. Now they've got all kinds of stuff. They've got the cage inside.

They've got ways to stay warm. So probably going to be a few ski masks out there. I got my money on Gurriel wearing a ski mask tonight. (Laughter) he doesn't like the cold weather.

Q. Just a thought on the 25-man roster that was announced this morning, and Mitch and his condition as you go forward here?
ALEX CORA: Yeah, he feels a lot better than in New York. Actually, if we need him, we'll use him. With Brock playing, having those two left-handed bats, in case we have to pinch-hit in the middle of the game or late in the game, is going to help us out. They only have one lefty out of the bullpen, and he can help us.

He has some good matchups for him in this series. And we can use him early in the game or late in the game knowing that Ian is not playing so we can bring in Ian to play second and move Brock to first base.

Q. David Price hasn't thrown a lot of innings lately. Are you concerned that he might be rusty? What has he done to stay sharp?
ALEX CORA: Just going through his progression, throwing bullpens and playing catch. He went through it during the season. At one point he got hit, his left hand, and he didn't pitch for ten days. He came back and pitched well. So he'll be fine for tomorrow.

Q. I must have heard you five times during the season. Just a quick question of weather again, on hot, muggy days you would sit here and talk about how great it is and how you feel like you're right at home. Can I just assume you hate cold weather?
ALEX CORA: I love it.

Q. Cold weather?
ALEX CORA: I love it. (Laughter) no, it's tough. We had some tough ones this year? When we played Baltimore, I know Buck didn't like that one -- Showalter. It's not easy. It's hard to play the game when you don't feel your hands. And you get jammed or hit one off the end of the bat and you will not feel your hands for a while. And that's tough.

But in our case, I think we got the right guy on the mound tonight. He really doesn't care about, like -- he'll go out there without sleeves because he promised somebody in Chicago that he will never wear sleeves, which I don't understand. (Laughter).

So, yeah, it's uncomfortable. It's very uncomfortable. But like I told you guys in February, you know, it's amazing how baseball players complain of cold weather in April and May and when October comes, for some reason it really doesn't matter.

I think the fact that you're four games away from going to a World Series blocks that out, and people really just concentrate on what they have to and they overcome the cold weather.

Q. How much contact with players does Laz Gutierrez have this time of year? And is that an area of coaching that can make a difference for guys performing in October?
ALEX CORA: Laz first of all he doesn't tell me how many meetings he has with the players. It's very private between them. But at least with me, you know, we went to school together in Miami. And we have a friendship. But he's helped me a lot throughout the season, just keeping me in the moment. Whenever I have something that I have to go through him, he's always available.

And I know he's making a difference. Just having him around, it helps the coaching staff. It helps the players, the training staff. He's been a great asset for us. And I'm glad that he's working with the Red Sox.

Q. How common is the workout that you guys did with light BP and running around compared to other teams that you've been with? And how much do you think it helped when you guys did that for the last series too?
ALEX CORA: Yeah, the running part, that's -- it was something the medical department decided to do. Usually we talk about swings and ground balls and we forget that the most important part is your legs.

So they wanted them to keep their legs going and then that was good to see. As far as light BP, Zander and J.D., they asked to see a few pitches. I asked them why, honestly. It's only been three days without seeing live BP. But they want to stay locked in. And having Héctor around and Drew and some of the guys that are available, it helps.

Actually on Monday, when we go to Houston, we are going to hit -- we're going to have a workout. Usually I don't work out in between, during the series. But going there with the roof and the lights, I want them to hit velocity and maybe see a few arms too on Monday so we can be ready for Game 3.

Q. Two questions about David. Was the last outing, did you see any mechanical changes that needed to be made? And is there concern with the cold weather considering the struggles he had in April?
ALEX CORA: About the cold weather, I read somewhere in social media that his only postseason start he went nine -- under 50 degrees -- he went nine innings and gave up two runs. So small sample size but he was good.

He's fine. We feel that if he attacks the way he did in the second half using his fastball in different spots and creating differences in his velocity, he'll be good. It seems like the velocity of his cutter and his sinker and four-seamer and the changeup, they were all together the last three, I want to say, location-wise, everything came together in the same spot.

But we did talk about it in the off day in New York. And he understands. And we expect him to go out there tomorrow and attack them in a different way and give us a good start.

Q. Yesterday Brian Cashman had talked about he thought Sonny Gray would pitch better if he was out of New York. And you played in Boston and New York. Does that become a real thing for players, that does it start to snowball on them if they don't have success in a certain place, in Boston or New York, just because of the spotlight? Or do you think it's just the narrative comes to a point where it just becomes impossible to escape it?
ALEX CORA: I think it's more for the people outside the clubhouse. I do believe that if you put your work and you work on your craft, you can play here. And you can play in New York. You can play in Miami.

You still have to perform at the end. The thing is that here, you know, the spotlight is on the team from 6.00 a.m. until the postgame show after the Red Sox. And it's nonstop.

That's what the difference is. It's kind of like what the team means to the city and obviously the coverage. Like I said, this is full-court press -- 24 hours, seven days a week. And they talk about the good things that we do and then the things that we have to improve, which I respect.

I understand that we have a fan base that they're very passionate about the Boston Red Sox. They're passionate about the Patriots and the Celtics and the Revolution and all the teams in the area. The fans they deserve that.

Is it fair sometimes? Is it fair? Yeah, sometimes. Is it unfair? Yeah, maybe. But if you can play baseball you can play baseball here or in Puerto Rico or Venezuela, as long as you work on your craft and keep doing the things you're supposed to do.

Q. Can you talk about Zander and how important will he be in this series?
ALEX CORA: Xander, he's my favorite shortstop of the series. Leave it at that.


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