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Cora eager to root for many familiar ASG faces

Red Sox recall Poyner from Triple-A, option Scott
MLB.com

BOSTON -- Of course Red Sox manager Alex Cora will watch the All-Star Game. When he knows so many Red Sox and Astros who will be there, how could he not?

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BOSTON -- Of course Red Sox manager Alex Cora will watch the All-Star Game. When he knows so many Red Sox and Astros who will be there, how could he not?

:: Complete All-Star Game coverage ::

View Full Game Coverage

"I feel like I was part of it," Cora said. "I texted Jose [Altuve] the other day, you know, I'm proud of him. And to see Charlie [Morton] ... that was cool. Here's a guy that, he's still thinking about retirement, and he gets a shot to pitch in the All-Star Game. Alex [Bregman], pulling for him. That's my go-to guy in the Home Run Derby."

Not to mention AJ Hinch and the rest of the Astros' coaching staff -- Alex Cintron, Rich Dauer and others. Cora said he spoke with Hinch -- who will manage the American League team at the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard -- about the difficulty in setting a lineup stacked with All-Star hitters.

As Cora prepares to watch the game, his head racing with questions -- could Bregman really win the Home Run Derby? Will Mookie Betts swing on the first pitch? -- one can't help but look for an edge of longing in his excitement. Doesn't he wish he could be there?

:: Complete Home Run Derby coverage ::

"Honestly, yes," Cora said. "But like my daughter Camilla said, 'Next year.' There's always next year."

Adjustments in the bullpen
Bobby Poyner was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket for the matchup against the Blue Jays, and Boston optioned Robby Scott to Pawtucket to make room on the roster.

The move comes after Scott threw two innings against the Blue Jays on Friday. Cora said he trusts Poyner, but more importantly, his bullpen needed a fresh arm. Scott was stretched on Friday after Joe Kelly struggled to contain the Blue Jays' offense, allowing three runs in less than an inning.

Cora said Kelly is overusing the fastball and needs to rely on his changeup -- a pitch he threw with considerable success in April and May. But Cora is still confident in his reliever.

"His stuff is still there, it's just a matter of reset his stuff," Cora said. "He did it in Kansas City… he did it against the Rangers. Yesterday, it didn't work out."

Video: BOS@BAL: Kelly gets out of a bases-loaded jam

Drew Pomeranz is also striving to return to form, as he has failed to find a groove in his pitching. Whether residual injury or over-adjusting his throw, the solution is still unclear, but Cora is not concerned that it is taking Pomeranz a while to break his funk.

"I think with Drew, it's all about timing and mechanics," Cora said. "That's why he's gonna go out there and pitch on Wednesday. And he knows it. He knows he has to get it right before he gets here. It's very important. We saw what he did last year with this team. And we need the good Drew Pomeranz -- the guy that can repeat his delivery and can be consistent with his breaking ball."

Meanwhile, Steven Wright's recovery from left knee soreness is taking longer than expected.

Wright has thrown some but remains sore, and Cora is still trying to decide whether Wright should remain in Boston to continue his rehab, or join the Red Sox on the road after the All-Star Game.

"He'll have good days," Cora said, "and then he takes a few steps back."

Blake Richardson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.

Boston Red Sox