Red Sox, Alex Cora ‘mutually’ part ways amid sign-stealing scandal

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BOSTON (WPRI/AP) — The Boston Red Sox and manager Alex Cora have decided to “mutually part ways” amid a sign-stealing scandal that has rocked the MLB.

The Red Sox are under investigation for stealing signs in Cora’s first season as manager in 2018, when Boston won the World Series. Cora was also the bench coach for the 2017 Houston Astros team that was found to have stolen signs on their way to a World Series title.

In a statement, the Red Sox said Cora and the team decided it would “not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward.”

“This is a sad day for us. Alex is a special person and a beloved member of the Red Sox,” the Red Sox said in a statement. “We are grateful for his impact on our franchise. We will miss his passion, his energy and his significant contributions to the communities of New England and Puerto Rico.”

Cora thanked the organization for supporting him throughout the years, adding that he did not want to be a distraction to the team as they move forward.

“My two years as manager were the best years of my life. It was an honor to manage these teams and help bring a World Series Championship back to Boston,” Cora said in a statement. “I will forever be indebted to the organization and the fans who supported me as a player, a manager and in my efforts to help Puerto Rico. This is a special place. There is nothing like it in all of baseball, and I will miss it dearly.”

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned Cora by name 11 times in a nine-page report Monday, describing him as a key person in the planning and execution of the cheating scheme.

The Astros fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow an hour after Manfred suspended them for the 2020 season for their role in the cheating scheme.

Manfred said Cora was among those who “originated and executed” aspects of the cheating scheme, in which the team used a center field camera to decode catchers’ signals to pitchers and banged on a trash can with a bat or massage gun near the dugout to let hitters know which pitch was coming.

Manfred announced he was withholding punishment of Cora until completing a separate investigation of accusations the Red Sox stole signs in 2018. Indications were the penalty would be equal or greater than what Hinch and Luhnow received.

Baseball says that investigation will continue. Cora is still likely to be suspended, and it’s unclear if MLB will also punish the Red Sox franchise, pending findings in the investigation.

Cora’s departure means 10 of the 30 MLB teams will start the 2020 season with a new manager. Boston’s new manager will be its fifth in 10 seasons.

The Red Sox have scheduled a press conference at Fenway Park for 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

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