Morning Sports Update

Alex Cora recalled how Dustin Pedroia overcame early struggles as a rookie in 2007

"He kept telling you guys, 'I will hit. I will hit.' And we were like, 'It doesn’t look right.'"

Alex Cora Dustin Pedroia
Dustin Pedroia and Alex Cora in the Red Sox dugout before a game against the Yankees in 2018. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The Revolution defeated the Red Bulls 3-2 on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. Carles Gil assisted all three goals, extending his league-leading tally to 10 as New England won its fifth game in a row.

Elsewhere, the Red Sox lost to the Rays, 8-2. It was Tampa Bay’s first win since June 14, ending a seven-game losing streak.

Also, the Celtics have reportedly chosen Ime Udoka to be the team’s next head coach.

Alex Cora on Dustin Pedroia’s rookie season: The Red Sox will honor recently retired second baseman Dustin Pedroia during a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park on Friday ahead of the series opener against the Yankees.

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Boston manager Alex Cora is excited for the event, especially as it will be in a ballpark without crowd restrictions.

“Looking forward to it,” Cora told reporters on Wednesday. “It will be fun just to have Pedey there. And obviously it should be a packed house finally at Fenway. That’s what he deserves, right? A packed house at Fenway, and it should be fun.”

Cora not only has a history managing Pedroia but played alongside him in 2007. Pedroia, then a rookie, opened the season hitting just .182 in the month of April. But despite the questions swirling around his performance at the plate, Pedroia never doubted his own ability.

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“I think he was the only guy — and Theo [Epstein] — who after April thought that he was going to hit,” Cora explained. “He kept telling you guys, ‘I will hit. I will hit.’ And we were like, ‘It doesn’t look right.’ But his confidence — and he kept doing things baseball-wise to contribute to win games. He played outstanding defense while he was struggling. And I think that was very important for us.

“He knew he was going to hit. Theo knew he was going to hit,” Cora recalled. “He was a winning player from the get-go. He was amazing at turning double plays. He brought energy in every day.”

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Of course, Pedroia’s faith in himself paid off, as he went on to smash a .415 average in the month of May. The eventual American League Rookie of the Year hit .333 over the rest of the season following his difficult opening month. And the Red Sox finished the season as World Series champions.

“He went to that road trip (in May), I think it was Toronto and Minnesota, and he just went off,” said Cora. “And the rest is history. It was fun to watch.”

Trivia: Dustin Pedroia became the starting Red Sox second baseman in 2007. Who was the team’s second baseman the year before in 2006?

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(Answer at the bottom.)

Hint: He was acquired from the Padres in 2005 in a deal for catcher Doug Mirabelli.

More from Boston.com:

The early analysis of Ime Udoka as Celtics coach:

A deft touch from the camera person during Spain’s win over Slovakia on Wednesday:

On this day: In 1992, Shaquille O’Neal went first overall in the NBA draft to the Magic. Both O’Neal and the second overall pick (Alonzo Mourning, picked by the Hornets) would eventually go into the NBA Hall of Fame.

Daily highlight: Though Brazil rallied to win 2-1, Luis Diaz gave Colombian fans a goal they won’t soon forget in Wednesday’s Copa America clash.

Trivia answer: Mark Loretta

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