Report: Pirates to hire Cora as third-base coach

Report: Pirates to hire Cora as third-base coach

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates did not waste much time filling an open spot on their coaching staff from within.

Pittsburgh is set to make Joey Cora the club's new third-base coach, according to a report by the Altoona Mirror. Cora, who managed the Bucs' Double-A Altoona affiliate last season, will replace the recently dismissed Rick Sofield in the third-base coach's box. The club has not commented on or confirmed Cora's hiring.

Cora, 51, will bring plenty of experience to the position. A first-round Draft pick by San Diego in 1985 out of Vanderbilt University, Cora played 11 years in the Majors as an infielder for the Padres, White Sox, Mariners and Indians. His post-playing career took him back to the dugout, where he served as a manager in the Mets' farm system before joining manager Ozzie Guillen's coaching staff with the White Sox in 2004.

In Chicago, Cora worked as Guillen's third-base coach and bench coach. Cora won a World Series with the White Sox in 2005. He joined Guillen again in Miami, serving as the Marlins' bench coach in '12.

Cora, a native of Puerto Rico and the older brother of former big league infielder Alex Cora, has previously been considered a Major League managerial candidate. He told ESPN earlier this year that he has been granted six interviews and called it a "frustrating effort."

The Pirates brought in Cora this year to manage their Double-A club, and Cora led the Curve to a 76-64 record.

Cora hit .277 with a .717 OPS in 1,119 big league games. He was named to the American League All-Star team in 1997, when he batted .300 for the Mariners.

The Pirates still need to replace former first-base coach Nick Leyva, who was reassigned to the front office on Saturday. Given Cora's experience at second base -- he played 970 games there, plus a handful of games at shortstop and third base -- he may take over Leyva's responsibilities as an infield coach.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.