ARLINGTON -- In Friday night's game against the Rangers, Red Sox manager Alex Cora will have the oddity of his team facing an opposing starting pitcher who is 18 months older than he is.Ten years ago, Cora and Bartolo Colon were teammates on the 2008 Red Sox."He was awesome. Loved
ARLINGTON -- In Friday night's game against the Rangers, Red Sox manager Alex Cora will have the oddity of his team facing an opposing starting pitcher who is 18 months older than he is.
Ten years ago, Cora and Bartolo Colon were teammates on the 2008 Red Sox.
"He was awesome. Loved it," Cora said of their time on the same team.
At that time, Colon appeared to be in the home stretch of what had already been a solid career.
But the big 44-year-old righty has reinvented himself multiple times, and Cora will see it up close on Friday night.
"It's impressive," Cora said. "I watched that Sunday night game [against the Astros on April 15] and I hope he doesn't have that stuff tomorrow, honestly," Cora said. "That was unreal, the way he's using that backdoor sinker to righties. It starts in the other dugout and comes back for strikes. I love the fact that he enjoys it. He knows how good he is.
"He's not [surprising] me. He's good. But he's enjoying the game. He's lucky to still be around. He's pitching a lot different than the norm right now. Usually it's north-south. He's still going east to west and he's still getting people out and he enjoys the game, which is great. He's a great athlete."
Lasting memory as teammates?
"Bartolo used to do his cardio work during the game," said Cora. "They had the Stairmaster and there were two TVs. One with the game and one with the Spanish soap opera. He'd watch both at the same time, but he knew what was going on with the game."
Cora also had 16 at-bats against Colon, getting four hits, including a double.
"I faced him when he was with the White Sox, I was with the Dodgers, in 2002 or 3, he went [nine] innings, I hit a double, I think, to left-center. Check it out," said Cora.
Upon further review, that matchup took place at Dodger Stadium on June 7, 2003, and Cora led off the ninth with a double and scored the only run for Los Angeles in a 4-1 complete-game gem for Colon.
Cora reflects on interview with Rangers
There was more for Cora to be reflective about on Thursday than his history with Colon. The Rangers were the first team to interview Cora for a managerial position. The meeting with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels took place after the 2014 season, at which time Cora was with ESPN.
"I have a great relationship with JD," Cora said. "He was the first guy who gave me a chance to interview for a big league job, and that was the beginning. I still remember coming here and having no idea what the whole process was going to be.
"In my first interview here, it was Joey [Cora's] little brother doing the interview. He was the one who walked me through the whole process and prepared me for the process. Honestly, with all the help he gave me, it was awesome, but I didn't feel it was me and it takes a while. It's not easy to walk into that room. Yeah, I love talking baseball, and we talked baseball from 8 to 5 and it was amazing and I respect the guy. He's been amazing to me, and we stay in touch. He's one of my good friends in baseball and I wish him the best."
Utilityman Brock Holt continues to make progress from the left hamstring injury he suffered in Toronto last week, and he could be activated as soon as he is eligible -- which is the start of the three-game series in New York on Tuesday.
"Brock, he ran today, he felt better," Cora said. "I think tomorrow, we're going to come here early and hit and see how he reacts. If he's good, and in a good place, we'll probably send him somewhere, get a few at-bats and hopefully he can be ready for next week."
Cora 'hopeful' on E-Rod
Eduardo Rodriguez, who is on the family medical leave list, is still scheduled to start on Saturday night against the Rangers.
"I think hopefully he can do it. I don't want to get into details, but most likely he'll pitch," said Cora.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.