HOUSTON -- Red Sox manager Alex Cora and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson now have the jewelry to go with their golden memories from last fall.Making a return visit to Houston for Thursday night's opener of a four-game series against the Astros, Cora and Bjornson were presented with World Series rings
HOUSTON -- Red Sox manager Alex Cora and bullpen coach Craig Bjornson now have the jewelry to go with their golden memories from last fall.
Making a return visit to Houston for Thursday night's opener of a four-game series against the Astros, Cora and Bjornson were presented with World Series rings in an on-field ceremony just prior to the start of the game.
Astros general manager Jeff Lunhow and manager AJ Hinch presented the rings to Houston's two former coaches. Cora was accompanied by his daughter, Camila.
Cora was the bench coach for the Astros last year, and his lone season in Houston culminated with the Game 7 win over the Dodgers in the Fall Classic. Bjornson was the bullpen coach for the Astros for five years.
Particularly for Cora, who was named manager of the Red Sox just before the start of the World Series, it was hard to completely soak in the magnitude of what the Astros accomplished as it was happening.
It became more real on Thursday.
"It's about time, man," Cora quipped of getting his ring. "I was talking to a buddy of mine this morning and I think this is when we turn the page in a way. Those kids, the organization, what AJ means to me, Mr. [Jim] Crane and Jeff, I think the world of them. They're a big part of what's going on here. I learned a lot from them and I appreciate that. But as far as finishing the chapter, today is the day."
The ring was the second in Cora's collection, joining the bling he received as a player for the 2007 Red Sox.
"I'll pass it to my daughter, Camila, today and she'll put it where she has my 2007 World Series ring," Cora said.
For Bjornson, it was an emotional journey to watch the Astros go from rebuilding to champions in a few short years.
"The moment of watching their faces -- the guys that were part of those tough years -- in the moments of the playoff wins and the World Series win, that was pretty special to see," Bjornson said. "For a moment, you reflected on the faces that used to feel those losses, and now you saw that same face with that happiness and the joy and accomplishment. That was nice."
Hinch appreciates the contributions Cora and Bjornson made to the team, and he was pleased to reunite with them.
"This ring means a lot to all of us that were involved in the team," Hinch said. "It's a nice way to pay tribute to their contribution."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.