Mariners' Cora Elated With Brother's Promotion

Tears came to Joey Cora when he heard the news Thursday night, but the Seattle Mariner second baseman quickly composed himself.

He had a call to make.

Cora phoned his mother in Puerto Rico to confirm that his younger brother, Alex, had been called up by the Dodgers. Then the tears resumed.

"It was 1 a.m. [in Puerto Rico] when I called her, so I knew it was true if she was still up," Cora said. "She told me, 'Yes, he's going to the Dodgers.' That was a great feeling."

The Dodgers purchased the contract of Cora, a shortstop at triple-A Albuquerque, Thursday to replace injured outfielder Todd Hollandsworth on the 25-man roster. Cora reported to the team Friday and dressed but didn't play in the Dodgers' 4-0 loss to the Mariners in interleague play.

"[Joey] called me last night, and I've never heard him so happy," Alex said.

Joey played in the All-Star game last season, and he was a key member of the Mariners' American League West Division-winning teams in 1995 and '97. But he said that Alex's promotion is the finest moment in his nine-year major league career.

"This is the best news I've ever had in the big leagues, because I never thought this day would happen while I was still playing," Joey said.

Joey, 33, believed Alex, 23, would play in the major leagues someday, but he said the timing of his younger brother's arrival has surprised him.

"It never even crossed my mind until recently," Joey said. "I would watch him play all the time in college [at the University of Miami], but I just didn't think about him getting here in time.

"Then when he got to triple-A this year, I started to think it could happen."

In 51 games with the Dukes this season, Alex batted .232 (42 for 181) with three home runs and 18 runs batted in. He is considered to be an excellent defensive player who has an above-average arm.

The Dodgers selected Cora in the third round of the 1996 free-agent amateur draft, and he batted .257 and .234, respectively, in his first two seasons of professional baseball. He was a nonroster invitee to spring training the last two years.

Although Joey is overjoyed about Alex's promotion, he is also saddened because their father, Jose, is not here to see Alex play. He died in 1989, but Joey said he knows their father is watching.

"I'm sure he's very proud," Joey said. "And I guarantee he's having a ball right now."


Mariner officials got cold feet and declined the Dodgers' final offer Tuesday that would have sent all-star pitcher Randy Johnson to Los Angeles.

As a result, the disgruntled left-hander said Wednesday he would not speak with reporters for the remainder of the season. But he made an exception Friday when asked about the USC baseball team's performance in the College World Series.

The Trojans qualified to play Arizona State for the title today by defeating two-time defending champion Louisiana State, 7-3, at Omaha.

"I'm real happy for them," said Johnson, who pitched for USC from 1983-85. "It's kind of nice to hear about the baseball team, even though football is still the big thing."




(1-4, 5.68 ERA)




(5-2, 3.73 ERA)

Seattle Kingdome, 1 p.m.

TV--Channel 11. Radio--AM 1150, KWKW (1330).

* Update--Mlicki, acquired Thursday in the Hideo Nomo trade, is being rushed into service. Rookie Dennis Reyes was scheduled to start today in Nomo's spot in the rotation, but team officials prefer the four-year veteran Mlicki in that role. Mlicki didn't have much time to get acclimated, but he's not complaining. "Any time you get traded, that means you're wanted," he said. "That's a good feeling, and I just want to get going."

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