News And Notes: Cora, Valentin Returning

Ozzie Guillen isn't the only former Sox player now returning to the South Side as a coach. Former infielder Joey Cora was announced by Guillen, the team's new skipper, as the Sox' new third base coach Friday. Cora, 38, spent four seasons with the Sox (1991-94) before retiring in 1998 with the Cleveland Indians.

Cora's coaching experience traces back over the course of four years. He spent the last three seasons as manager of the Savannah (GA.) Sand Gnats of the Single-A South Atlantic League. Cora first began his coaching career in the Chicago Cubs farm system in 2000.

Over the course of his playing career, Cora amassed a .277 batting average over the course of 11 seasons, with 294 RBIs and 117 stolen bases. He replaces another former Cubs coach, Bruce Kimm, as the team's third base coach.

Cora was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the first round of the 1985 amateur draft, and debuted two years later at the age of 22. The rest of the Sox coaching staff staff is bench coach Joe Nossek, hitting coach Greg Walker, pitching coach Don Cooper, bullpen coach Art Kusnyer and first base coach Rafael Santana. All were holdovers from Jerry Manuel's coaching staff in 2003.

In other news, the Sox exercised their $5 million option for 2004 on SS Jose Valentin. Valentin, 34, will be entering his fifth season on the South Side. Last year with the Sox, Valentin became only the fourth shortstop to hit 25 or more homeruns four consecutive years.

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