PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have dismissed third-base coach Joey Cora, who held the position for five seasons.
Cora, 56, served the Pirates’ organization since 2016, when he was named manager for the Double-A Altoona Curve. One year later, he joined the Major League team as the third-base coach.
“We would like to thank Joey for his passion for the job and his commitment in continuously helping our players grow as big leaguers,” said general manager Ben Cherington. “Even though this was a difficult decision, we wanted to make it now out of respect for Joey so that it allows him to immediately be able to pursue other opportunities. We wish Joey nothing but the best moving forward.”
Cora, who played 11 years in the Majors primarily as a middle infielder, also helped the Bucs with their infield coaching and drills. In fact, Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman attributed his defensive resurgence in 2021 in part to Cora.
“I was sending him videos of drills and stuff I was doing in the offseason -- and he was telling me advice and things I could keep doing better and better,” Newman said.
In 2020, Cora became the first Puerto Rican-born member of the Pirates to wear Roberto Clemente’s No. 21 jersey. His No. 21 uniform from Pittsburgh’s Roberto Clemente Day game this season is now on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
The third-base-coaching position is now the second job availability this offseason on the Pirates’ coaching staff. The club is still searching for a hitting coach to replace Rick Eckstein, who was dismissed in late August.
“Joey Cora is a great baseball man whose love for the game and passion for the job was obvious every day that he represented the Pittsburgh Pirates,” said manager Derek Shelton. “I want to thank him for his commitment to the organization along with all the time and dedication that he gave to our players.”