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The Alex Cora Essentials: Take Two

PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Alex Cora #3 of the New York Mets poses during photo day at Tradition Field on February 23, 2009 in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Michael GanciCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2010

BY MICHAEL GANCI
EDITOR

When it was time to see Alex Cora step into the forefront last season when Jose Reyes went down, it was impressive to see how he took it all in stride. He played solid defense, provided essential leadership, and knew what it was like to lead a team.

But that is not why he was brought in here.

Cora has had plenty of success in his career. He was part of a special story in Boston in which they erased a long World Series drought and climbed the mountain in 2004. Then, the Sox did it again in 2007, and now, Cora seems to want to help the Mets get to the promise land, but if he is going to help, it won’t be as an everyday player.

Cora’s numbers last year were pretty pedestrian. He hit .251, and he seemed to get more and more tired as the season progressed. Being a 34-year-old shortstop is no easy task, and he broke down physically as the season went on.

It’s not like the Mets had other choices. When you have guys like Argenis Reyes and Wilson Valdez occupying the shortstop hole, your team must be riddled with injuries. Hopefully, that is all behind us.

In an ideal world, Cora would serve as the super back-up. He could backup Reyes, Wright, Castillo, whoever is playing first, and I think he was even an emergency catcher at one time, although I am sure those days are far behind him.

Alex is one of those guys who was built for the late-inning double switch, and he seems like a guy who works best with limited exposure. Endy Chavez anyone?

Cora can be a vital part of the 2010 roster, but only if the guys ahead of him do exactly what they need to do.

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