Mets re-sign Cora to 1-year deal with 2011 option

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WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports that Alex Cora is close to returning to the Mets for the same $2 million that he earned this season. According to Bradford the one-year contract will also include a vesting option for 2011, but the details of that aren’t yet available.
Cora was slated for a bench job when he joined the Mets as a free agent last offseason, but Jose Reyes’ hamstring problems pushed him into extended duty and he ended up with more than 300 plate appearances for the first time since 2004 despite playing through torn thumb ligaments in both hands.
He didn’t play particularly well, batting just .251/.320/.310 while making 54 starts at shortstop and another 13 at second base, but as far as utility infielders go Cora is a decent one. As is the case with most mid-30s infielders his range defensively has slipped, but he remains capable of doing a passable job at either up-the-middle spot and has hit .254/.326/.344 over the past three seasons.
MLB shortstops and second basemen hit .271/.332/.405 as a group this season and those numbers include all the starters, so .254/.326/.344 or even .251/.320/.310 isn’t bad from a backup. Plus, if Cora ends up logging 300 plate appearances again in 2010 that means something went terribly wrong for the Mets and paying $2 million for a mediocre utility man will be the least of their problems.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.