New York Mets: Alex Cora Is Ready to be the 2010 Mets' Starting Shortsop

Tony MenendezCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2010

PHOENIX - AUGUST 11:  Infielder Alex Cora #3 of the New York Mets attempts a pick off on Trent Oeltjen #16 of the Arizona Diamondbacks at second base during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on August 11, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images


Last season veteran utility—man Alex Cora, who largely replaced Jose Reyes when the latter was placed on the disabled list in May because hamstring problems, was the New York Mets starting shortstop.

Cora did well in 82 games but his season concluded in mid-August when he was placed on the disabled list due to torn ligaments in both thumbs.

For the 34—year—old infielder, a similar situation has turned in his favor with the possibility he could be the Mets shortstop on Opening Day in two weeks.

It is highly expected that Reyes will begin the season on the disabled list because of an overactive thyroid condition.

Manager Jerry Manuel has said on the record that Cora is his first choice to replace Reyes, whom is expected to be out at least until the end of May.

Cora admits that he probably is not the guy the Mets are looking for in a everyday position, but that Jerry Manuel must have been certain that Cora is the right candidate for the job.

Even though he hopes Reyes returns soon, Cora is certainly hoping that the opportunity lasts on long as possible. In his inner set of mind, he would love this summer to have one of his career dreams become true.

A three—game series between the Mets and Florida Marlins will be played in his native Puerto Rico.

The June 28th—30th series originally to be played in Miami has been moved to San Juan's Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Hiram Bithorn Stadium hosted Montreal Expos in each of the 2003 and 2004 seasons, before they relocated to Washington D.C. as the Nationals.

In addition, the ballpark hosted the 2001 season opener between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays and it was the site of games during the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009.

Cora played in both World Baseball Classic tourneys for Team Puerto Rico, but has said on the record that it will be a different and exciting possibility to play as Met in the Island.

Cora also has another reason to hope that the summer time comes soon.

The 13—year major leaguer will know about whether another dream might come true.

Cora was nominated recently for potential selection to the College World Series Legends Team.

With Omaha, Nebraska's Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium entering its final year that it will host the NCAA Men's College World Series, the NCAA is asking fans to select a College World Series Legends Team from those that have had the best performance in the 60 years that the event has been held at the stadium.

Cora, as a member of the University of Miami Hurricanes, was a two—time College World Series All—Tournament Team selection in 1995 and 1996.

Cora led the Hurricanes to the title game in 1996, a game they lost to Louisiana State University.

Cora has said that he is ready for Jerry Manuel's challenge. Time will tell if he is and how long he will be the Mets everyday shortstop.