Cora benches, blasts reportedly tardy Verdugo: ‘One guy wasn’t available’

Cora benches, blasts reportedly tardy Verdugo: 'One guy wasn't available'

The Boston Red Sox played Saturday’s game with a short bench, and Alex Cora didn’t mince words when discussing how disappointing it was that Alex Verdugo wasn’t available.

“I think today we took a step back as a team,” Cora said following the 5-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park, noting that the outfielder was benched due to a manager’s decision.

“I think today we took a step back as a team… As the manager, I got to take charge of this”

Alex Cora on their loss against Toronto today | #RedSox

— NESN (@NESN) August 5, 2023

“We have to be available, everybody has to be available,” Cora continued. “For us to do this, we have to be available. From coaches to player to analysts to the front office, everybody has to be available every single day here. That’s the bottom line. And, today, one guy wasn’t available.”

Cora added that there’s a chance Verdugo could play Sunday.

“I’m very disappointed,” Cora continued, according to Masslive’s Chris Cotillo. “This is probably one of my worst days here in this organization. From Day 1, everybody’s been available. We had our issues or whatever and we’ve taken care of our things. Today, we took a step back. I feel responsible as the leader. It’s hard.”

While Cora remained mum on what kept Verdugo on the bench, the 27-year-old outfielder reportedly showed up only two hours before first pitch, according to Ian Browne of

Verdugo was asked about it and also wouldn’t divulge the reason, simply repeating that it was a “manager’s decision.”

“Manager’s decision… We’re going to leave it at that. Just be ready to play tomorrow”

Alex Verdugo on being a late scratch from today’s lineup | #RedSox

— NESN (@NESN) August 5, 2023

Saturday’s game ended rather dismally due to Reese McGuire‘s baserunning gaffe, but it didn’t seem to factor into Cora’s frustrations.

McGuire – representing the tying run – got doubled off at second base after misreading a flyball as a homer. However, Cora noted the entire team as well as Blue Jays reliever Erik Swanson also misread it.

The Red Sox close out their three-game series against the Blue Jays on Sunday. They’re in the midst of a three-game losing streak and have lost six of their last seven.

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