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October 22, 2021

Alex Cora

Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Boston Red Sox

Pregame 6 Press Conference

Q. Did you know anything about Garrett Whitlock prior to the season, you know, when you got him, and what do you think his ceiling is?

ALEX CORA: Oh, man, we had a Zoom meeting right before the Rule 5, and they were talking about actually, two pitchers, and he was one of them, and I had no idea, to be honest with you. When we got to Spring Training -- you can ask all these people -- he threw the first bullpen out, and I was, like, whoa, what is this? The velocity, the mechanics, the intensity, the attention to detail in one bullpen. And then you see him in the weight room and in the training room, the way he acted, we knew he had a good one.

And in Spring Training, he threw the ball really well. We used him, I think it was Game 3, Richards started and it didn't go well. We were actually trying to get Garrett the clean inning, but they kept scoring against J.T. I think we brought in J.T. in that situation. And we brought him in, and he did an amazing job for three innings and then I think he pitched in a one-run game in Baltimore after that, and he's been amazing for us.

I actually talked to Cash about it, and, actually, give him some credit because there were some guys that we got from that organization that you see the way they act, the way they do their stuff, you know, it has to be a good school over there. They're teaching their players the right way, and we're just lucky to have him.

Q. Do you think he can be a starter or a closer? What do you think?

ALEX CORA: Let's keep him a reliever for the next ten days (laughter).

But, I mean, obviously, we believe he can be a starter with time, but you never know what can happen in the future. With Pat, we thought he was a starter. Everybody thought he was a starter, I think, and he comes in in Game 3 to throw out the first pitch and throws 91. Made a living on closing out games. You can't get ahead of yourself. What's he going to be or whatever? One thing for sure, he is going to be a good pitcher for a long, long time.

Q. I just wanted to ask you, what did you think about Luis GarcĂ­a's story, kind of just coming up from Single A to where he is now, and also what do you think about just his stuff and him as a pitcher?

ALEX CORA: Good pitcher. Solid at what he does. Different angles. You see him moving on the rubber against lefties and righties. He has done a great job for them. One of those guys that from afar you see and you know, because I have the experience, that Strommy had a lot to do with his success. Just preaching certain things and helping him mechanically and with the other stuff, hand placement, all that. He's been relentless, and he has done an amazing job for the Astros.

Q. (Question in Spanish)

ALEX CORA: (Answer in Spanish).

Q. Has Sawamura thrown yet today?

ALEX CORA: Yeah, he is okay. He is good.

Q. I wasn't there, but I was reading where you had mentioned in one of the games -- I think it was Game 4, towards the end there -- you thought you guys had some empty at-bats. How do you avoid something like that, or is it just the moment? I mean, how do you avoid kind of running into that problem?

ALEX CORA: It's a game of adjustments. They make adjustments, we have to make adjustments. It just felt like we had a chance to add on halfway through Game 4. We didn't do it. We swung at a few first pitches, and we didn't hit it solid, and you got to avoid that. And that's in the playoffs or in the regular season when you are trying to put quality at-bat after quality at-bat, so that's what I meant.

That's how we say it in Boston, you know, empty at-bats -- empty fly balls, empty at-bats. Not quality ones. Obviously, tonight we have to be relentless in what we do in every aspect of the game. I think offensively we'll be in a better place than the last game and a half.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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