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Red Sox report: Alex Cora gives blueprint on how Red Sox will approach Yankees

Rob Bradford
February 13, 2018 - 1:28 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Meeting with the media for about 20 minutes Tuesday morning, Alex Cora admitted his plan still is a work in progress.

This much the new Red Sox manager admitted when talking about any point of emphasis he might be offering the team during the group's first big meeting.

"Bear with my Spanglish. That’s very important," Cora joked when asked about if any theme is going to prioritized. "No, not yet. I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been here for a week and I’m going back and forth, how to address the team. Do I wait for everybody to be here? Do I talk to pitchers and catchers tomorrow? I don't know. Like I said my style is yet to be determined but one thing for sure, enjoy the process. Relax through it. That’s very important because the more you enjoy it and more relaxing the environment, the better it’s going to be for you. That’s going to be part of it."

But there is one approach he seemed fairly confident about -- how the Red Sox are going to take on the big, bad Yankees.

"We'll pitch. We'll play good defense, and we'll hit. Just like any other team," Cora said. "It's a great lineup, just like there's a lot of teams out there that are good. The Indians, the Astros, the Angels. Everybody in the big leagues is capable of putting a good offensive day any day of the week. So you still have to pitch, you have to execute, you have to stay with what you believe that you can get people out. We'll involve the scouting report, the guys will execute, and we're going to be fine. We need to get 27 outs just like any other team."

Here are some other takeaways from Cora's morning session ...

- Even though Blake Swihart told WEEI.com Monday that second base is the only position he has never played, the Sox manager introduced the possibility that the catcher-turned-infielder/outfielder could find his way to the spot.

"We’ve got options. We got options," said Cora when asked about fill-ins for Dustin Pedroia while the starter returns from knee surgery. "Going back to Swihart, we’ve got a bunch of guys, they’re very athletic, some are righties, some are lefties, good defensive players, guys that are versatile enough that we can move around. Obviously, spring is going to determine when that happens and health obviously but I feel very comfortable with the guys that we have that they can perform at the big league level."

When pressed about Swihart being an option at second, Cora added, "Oh yeah, second, third, I mean, anywhere. I haven’t been with him on a field but everything I hear, especially when he’s healthy, he’s athletic enough that you can move him around and obviously behind the plate, he can help. You don’t see that often, guys that are versatile enough and like [Austin> Barnes in LA, there’s a guy he can catch and all of a sudden in the world series he was playing second base because he’s that good of an athlete."

- Cora sounded like a manager who wasn't against matching up catchers with certain pitchers, as was the case a year ago with Sandy Leon catching almost all of Chris Sale's starts.

"I want to have the best lineup possible on a daily basis and that’s going to be part of it," he noted. "I think everybody feels comfortable with the way they handled the pitching staff, the way they catch, the way they present pitches and that’s very important for what we’re trying to accomplish."

- The only player expected to be delayed for camp is minor-league invite Oscar Hernandez, a Venezuelan catcher who is still waiting on his work Visa.

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