Alex Cora: It’s Our Time !

Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun
FORT MYERS, Florida–
For many baseball fans games at spring training they don’t count. Furthermore they don’t care much about
the scores and standings of both the Grapefruit and Cactus League. Less possibly care about the exhibition games
against the World Baseball Classic country teams.
Do not argue this with Alex Cora.
“This games are very important to us. It’s our time”, Cora said.
Puerto Rico starts today, Tuesday, a three exhibition games set against the Minnesota Twins, the Tampa Bay Rays (Wednesday) and the Boston Red Sox (Thursday) as part of the Major League Baseball spring training schedule prior the 2009 World Baseball Classic opener against Panama next Saturday, March 7 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
Cora,33, a recent signee with the New York Mets, is one of only few of Manager Jose “Cheito” Oquendo crew that are openly making the prediction that Team Puerto Rico will make it this time all the way to the final round.
“I think we have a complete team,”Cora said. “Pitching is a plus. We have pretty good arms in our starters and our bullpen. We have also a pretty good lineup. Good baseball teams win champioships and we have a chance to win it”.
Cora acknowledged last time Puerto Rico finished with a 4-2 record but did not advance out of the second round,due to a lost to Cuba and a run average rule.
“This time fans are looking forward to seeing what we can do and they expect to us to win”.
Not mentioned by Cora, but it is also have been forgotten Puerto Rico have the second best team ERA (2.08) and the third  best team batting (.286) in the inaugural 2006 tourney.
According to Cora this year the double-elimination format in the first two rounds it will have a greater demand however his very certain all the squad it is ready for the challenge.
If Team Puerto Rico is able to win first and second round, Cora will play as foretold at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium March 21-23.
The Caguas native also mentioned is also looking forward after the Classic to his new career challenge with the Mets. Cora is expected to be this upcoming season an infield backup specially in second base for injury-prone Luis Castillo.
Cora appeared in 75 games for the Boston Red Sox last season and batted .270 — the second-highest average of his career — and added two hits in 11 at- bats during the postseason. He started 41 games during the regular season — 38 at shortstop and three at second base.
Cora was a member of Boston’s 2007 World Series championship team. He also went to the playoffs with the Red Sox in 2005, and with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004.
3/3 Puerto Rico (Ian Snell) vs. Minnesota Twins, Fort Myers
3/4 Puerto Rico (Jonathan Sanchez) vs. Tampa Bay Rays, Port Charlotte
3/5 Puerto Rico (TBA) vs. Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers
World Baseball Classic
3/7 Puerto Rico (Javier Vazquez) vs. Panama, Hiram Bithorn Stadium


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