YUMA, Ariz. — Rookie Joey Cora will be the Padres' opening-day second baseman, Manager Larry Bowa said Thursday.
Cora, 21, spent last season at the Double-A level, but he impressed Bowa with his patience at the plate (he leads the team with 11 walks this spring) and his play in the field.
"I told Joey yesterday (Wednesday)," Bowa said. "He"ll bat near the bottom of the lineup. Listen, he's been playing very good defense, and I'm not at all concerned about his offense. He's moved runners and stolen bases. He's done the things we wanted."
Cora, a native of Puerto Rico, said: "My first two or three weeks (of spring training) were pretty shaky. But I did the things they wanted. Still, I thought I was going to Triple-A. This was a surprise. Larry faked me out. He called me in, shut the door and said I was going down (to the minors) for a month. Then he said, 'Just kidding. You made the team.' "