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Kennedy talks Dombrowski, confidence in Cora

@IanMBrowne
September 10, 2019

TORONTO -- A day after Red Sox ownership decided not to hold a press conference regarding the decision to part ways with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, team president/CEO Sam Kennedy explained the reason for that in a radio interview with WEEI. Kennedy also explained the abruptness of the

TORONTO -- A day after Red Sox ownership decided not to hold a press conference regarding the decision to part ways with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, team president/CEO Sam Kennedy explained the reason for that in a radio interview with WEEI.

Kennedy also explained the abruptness of the announcement, which occurred after midnight ET when the Sox had just lost, 10-5, to the Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.

“As it relates to the issue of a press conference, we just knew it would have been a wholly unsatisfactory experience given that we’re just not going to expand on the statements we provided yesterday,” said Kennedy. “I understand the desire for one and the frustration for not having one. But given that we’re not going to expand on what we said in our press statement, it just wouldn’t have been satisfactory to anyone.”

What Boston’s ownership group didn’t want to do is take public shots at Dombrowski, who has had an illustrious 40-year career in baseball front offices.

“I’ve observed press conferences with sports figures leaving organizations for a long, long time,” Kennedy said. “I’m not sure what purpose they ultimately serve other than, as you said, protocol. So we decided given that we weren’t going to expand on what we said via our press release that went out earlier on Monday, and we would instead focus on the task ahead and mainly be accountable to our employees and our people in the organization.”

And why did the club make the announcement at such an odd hour, leaving manager Alex Cora to react to it to the media only moments after he had found out himself?

Once owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner had decided not to retain Dombrowski, they thought it was only fair to let him know -- which happened in the second inning of Sunday night’s loss. The original plan was for the team to come out with a press release on Monday morning. But the decision started to leak out, which is why Cora was put in an awkward position.

“There is no question Alex was in a bad spot, and we definitely regret that,” Kennedy said. “I said that at the outset. The nature of baseball is he’s required to do those two availabilities, pre and postgame. We regret that.”

Though Dombrowski was the one who decided to hire Cora, Kennedy made it clear that the organization is completely behind its manager.

“John Henry, Tom Werner and I spent a lot of time yesterday with Alex, spent some time with the players and expressed our confidence and support for Alex and the incredible job that he has done,” Kennedy said. “He has been everything you ever want in a manager. I can’t speak more highly of Alex and the job that he has done and the job that he will do as we move forward. It’s no doubt it’s been a difficult season for all of us, but we’re really, really confident in Alex Cora.”

Xander gets a rest; Mookie could be next

For weeks, the Red Sox were going all-out to try to get back into the pennant race. This meant asking a lot out of certain players. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, one of the guys who has been going to his post every day, was given the night off on Tuesday. Brock Holt was also off.

While the Red Sox will keep trying to win games, Cora knows at this point it would take a miracle for his team to get to the postseason. Look for other players to get some rest in the coming days.

“Yeah, [Bogaerts] has been playing a lot,” Cora said. “Coming to the turf [at Rogers Centre], we got here late. Brock, too. They played the whole week. Their effort has been great, so we’ll stay away from them today and then they’ll play the rest of the week.”

“Raffy [Devers], probably the last day here [off] so he can get two [including a team off-day on Friday],” Cora said. “Most likely Mookie [Betts] tomorrow. Little by little, we’ll take care of them. I mean, you know how I feel about the turf, so the timing is good, too. They’ve been going after it.”

Cora will also be more cognizant of workloads in the bullpen, and he mentioned young lefties Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor as two players he’ll try not to extend.

Price might pitch next week

Lefty David Price continues to play catch in an attempt to come back from a left wrist injury that has limited him to just two innings since Aug. 4.

Though Price won’t pitch on this road trip, Cora said he might return next week.

“Most likely next week -- if everything goes well this week,” Cora said.

But what if the Red Sox are completely out of the race?

“We’ll talk about it,” Cora said. “Everybody likes to perform. I think it’s something that you look forward to. You don’t want to finish the year on the IL or shut down for the wrong reasons. So we’ll talk about it with the medical staff, obviously with Eddie [Romero], BOH [Brian O’Halloran], Zack [Scott] and Raquel [Ferreira], and make a decision. As of right now, he’s getting ready to pitch. He’s feeling better, little by little. Yesterday actually he threw a few changeups in his flat-ground session.”

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.