Alex Cora was the favorite to be the Dodgers' starting shortstop this season. Instead, he was beaten out by 35-year-old Kevin Elster during spring training. Elster hadn't played a full season since 1996 and was out of baseball last season.
But Cora hit a woeful .176 in spring training. He hit .308 with triple-A Albuquerque last season--the first time he had hit higher than .264 in three minor league seasons.
Cora said he wasn't happy about being shipped to Albuquerque, but also predicted his time would come.
Cora, considered a defensive whiz and an offensive liability, hasn't been pouting with the Dukes. He is hitting .400 to share the lead in the Pacific Coast League.
Meanwhile, a member of the Dodgers' international pitching parade, Luke Prokopec, was named the Texas League's pitcher of the week for April 17-23.
Prokopec, who pitches for double-A San Antonio and is a native of Renmark, Australia, was 1-0 and allowed only two runs in two starts. He struck out 13 in 13 innings.
For the season, he is 1-0 with a 1.48 earned-run average and leads the league with 30 strikeouts.
Prokopec, signed as a free agent in 1994, was 8-12 with a 5.42 ERA in 27 starts for San Antonio last season. He finished fast, going 5-1 with 3.02 ERA in August.