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October 25, 2018

Alex Cora

Los Angeles, California - Workout Day

Q. I was just curious, with J.D.'s ankle, is there any concern with him in the outfield tomorrow?
ALEX CORA: We'll see. Actually he felt better today walking around, he got treatment on the way here. He's going to get treatment tomorrow. He'll get treatment tomorrow morning. In the afternoon we'll make a decision.

It looked bad early in the game but then it seemed like it was moving better towards the end. We'll make a decision whenever -- he'll let us know.

Q. If you look at this point so far being 11-2 in the postseason -- 9-2, sorry, getting ahead of myself, my apologies. Does that even take you aback that number, and is it reflection of your team's talent, execution? Where do you go with that?
ALEX CORA: I've been saying all along, we're very talented. They do a good job staying in the moment, showing up every day, that boring thing, getting information, play, get the result move on to the next day. They've been very consistent since Spring Training.

We still feel that we can be better. There's a few things that over the course of the playoffs we haven't done well, but that's a cool thing about it, we're in a good position. We know we're two wins away from winning the whole thing, but at the same time their approach is very humble, they want to keep improving. And that's the cool thing about this group. They don't get caught up in the whole thing, 108 wins, the Yankees, the Astros, it doesn't matter.

One thing I told them in Spring Training, do not let the successes around you dictate who you are, and they've been very consistent with that.

Q. Several guys on the team, four or five, that have been to World Series and lost. Some of them close, Game 7's. Your experience as a player, what did 2007, when you were won a championship, great year, comeback in Cleveland, had the great World Series in Colorado, what did that mean for you as a player, as a person winning a championship?
ALEX CORA: That was the best. That's what you work for. I was telling somebody today that I grew up here in Dodger Stadium, and my only goal was to win a World Series with the Dodgers here. And that's what you do.

In '07 it was amazing. It was a testament of -- Tito did an outstanding job keeping us in the moment, using everybody. In May I was the second baseman, and everybody wanted to send Pedey to Triple-A, and Tito was staying with the plan, and they told me what was going to happen and it happened. And Pedey became a huge part of our club.

J.D. Drew, a lot of people were giving up on him, and all of a sudden Game 6 of the Championship Series, 3-1 count, hits a grand slam and started the comeback, and so on and so on. I learned to win a championship, it's not only 25 guys and the coaching staff, it's a total organizational effort, Coco Crisp was in center field and then Jacoby Ellsbury starts playing, and he changed the complexion of the playoffs. That's what it's all about. That's what I told them from day one, be ready.

There's not too many World Series rings in that clubhouse. In the pitching staff I think there's only one - Brandon Workman. Position players, Xander is the only active one and Pedey, of course, if I'm not mistaken. They're hungry, there's two of them, they've been in the World Series and I can't even imagine the feeling. Ian against the Cardinals.

They're staying hungry. They know that we're close, it's not over. That's a good team. That's a really good team. They were ten games back I think at one point in the season, and everybody thought that no chance they were going to make it to the playoffs except their manager and it grew from there. DR (Roberts) said, yeah, we're winning the West. I was in Boston, I said, DR is crazy saying that, and they did.

So they're going to show up, play hard. They're a good team, so we've just got to stay humble and play the game we've been playing all along and see what happens.

Q. You mentioned you guys can still be better in certain areas, what are they?
ALEX CORA: I don't know, baserunning. Just we've been scoring a lot with two outs, let's just start scoring runs earlier. Not chasing pitches. Not giving up at-bats, sometimes we do. Although people don't feel that way, but there are certain times in the game I'm just, stay the course, keep going.

We haven't played a perfect game yet the whole season, and hopefully we can do that in the next coming days.

Q. Just a thought on you guys slept in your own beds last night, what did that do? What was the flight like out here?
ALEX CORA: There wasn't too much sleep in my house. Those two were nuts yesterday.

It was good. You get up. You've got the family, we had everything set up. But I feel better today than when we went to Houston right after the game. It was something that we talked about early in October and this is a long flight. We're not complaining, we're in the World Series. It can be an eight-hour flight and it was going to be a happy flight anyways.

But guys got their rest. We got here on time. Now they can go have dinner. It's around game time, too, that works. So I think as far as like mentally and physically, it was the right decision. We'll see if it works.

Q. What do you expect out of Rick tomorrow?
ALEX CORA: A quality start. He's rested, which is good. We used him a lot in the first two rounds being the rover, and then starting. I don't think his stuff was as crisp as early in the playoffs. So now with the rest I think he'll be fine. I know it's a different lineup with them, all the lefties are going to play. But I do feel with his stuff we can match up with them, and he can give us a quality start.

Q. After winning 108 games and all the expectations how did you reset your team in between the regular season and the beginning of the postseason?
ALEX CORA: We had a team dinner before the Yankee series and we celebrated 108. We talked about it. We were watching the A's and the Yankees, and after that we said we've got to turn the page, because in the city where we play, up there, we knew that we were going to be judged by what we do in October.

It's not added pressure. The fans' expectations are the same as the ones we have. So if they feel that they're putting pressure on us because we have to win it, you've got to go to the clubhouse, we want to win it. That's the ultimate goal.

We did a good job turning the page right away. I think J.D. hitting that home run in the first inning, like, okay, here we go, it was a good moment for us and from there we took off. We won Game 2 after we lost Game 1 against the Astros.

We know we have a good team and I'm glad that lately I've been hearing that from Mookie and some of the guys. Finally they understand that, yeah, it's cool to play with swag and show it. And they're showing a lot of emotion. They're showing up every day, of course, they've been doing that since February. But I'm glad that they finally believe in that they're in a great team and we're in this position.

Q. Did you see the Gold Glove finalists?
ALEX CORA: We got five, I think.

Q. Some of them I guess are pretty obvious, the fact that Andrew was one of the finalists in left field, what does that tell you about his evolution as a defender?
ALEX CORA: That's probably -- well, there was one that didn't make it that I thought he should have - Sandy. He did an outstanding job behind the plate all season. But that's another topic.

But, yeah, he's a complete player. And that's one part of the game that we're pushing him to be better. And he did an outstanding job throwing to the right bases, cutting off balls in the gap, going to his right, being able to push them out in Fenway, push them to left-center and knowing that he can make that play like yesterday down the line. That's something in the beginning he didn't feel too comfortable, and little by little you can see that he's actually playing in the left-center gap now, and he's been making plays.

Obviously the play in Houston, that was amazing, great play and great jump. Conviction and making the play. And that's the part of the game that he really improved throughout the season, and can't wait for him next year to put a full defensive season together and hopefully he can win a Gold Glove or maybe he'll win it this year.

Q. Elsewhere today Rocco Baldelli, a native New Englander was named the Twins manager. Do you have any relationship with him? If so, what is it? And what would your recommendation be to him as a first-year manager after going through that this year?
ALEX CORA: Just be you, man, just be you. You sign that contract and you never know how long you're going to last in that job, in this job. So be you. Enjoy the ride. You kill the interview, do not change. All the stuff that you say in your interview, then you get to February, don't change a thing, because that's the guy they hired.

I saw him this year. I think halfway through the season, I don't know if it's true, but he, in the dugout, he did a lot of things. The running game got better; I think he was part of that. I heard some great things about him and I wish him luck. I know this is a tough job and all that, but it's a cool job, being a manager. There's only 30 of these jobs in the world. So might as well.

They've got some talented kids, athletic kids, Berrios and Eddie and they had a great season last year, and this year took a step back, but it's a team that's very talented, very athletic and I'm happy for Rocco. And Charlie, too, Montoyo.

Q. How well do you know him?
ALEX CORA: He was my coach in one of the WBC's, I think it was the second one. It's cool. Another Puerto Rico manager in the Big Leagues. That's awesome.

Q. What have you learned in the last year about Dave that you didn't know before you took the job?
ALEX CORA: That he enjoys winning and hates losing. He's been great for me. He's been able to slow it down for me. We're talking Dombrowski? You don't spend all those years in the Big Leagues because you're lucky. You have to be smart. You have to have control of the situations. And that's what he does.

I love the fact that when he comes down like around 1:15, 1:30, he sits there for five minutes and he tells me what he saw during the games or he asks me what I'm thinking. And those conversations, they're good. They don't take too long, but I know that he cares about the organization. He cares about the players. He cares about me. And he's been great for me. Just to work with a veteran guy like Dave has been perfect for me.

Q. What are some of the specific insights he's given you?
ALEX CORA: How to deal with media, that's one of them. Like for example, simple stuff, but it's huge for us, like during the playoffs, the plane, the families, how are we going to travel, where are we going to stay, all that stuff. Sometimes it's a lot, a lot of stuff. And then you have to take a look at stats and make lineup decisions and you've got all this stuff going on. And everything starts going fast. And he's been able to slow it down for me.

Q. I think there's a lot of anticipation to see what your lineup looks like tomorrow.
ALEX CORA: Me too, man.

Q. So I have not high hopes of getting a definitive answer, but is the possibility of using your right fielder on the infield still in play?
ALEX CORA: Mookie Betts at second? No, he's not playing second base. Well, he's not starting at second base.

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