BOSTON (CBS) — News broke Friday morning that the Red Sox would be bringing Alex Cora back as the team’s manager. That news is now official.

The Red Sox announced Cora’s hiring on Friday evening, adding that the two sides have agreed to a two-year contract that will run through the 2022 season. There is also a two-year club option for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

Cora said that he is happy to be back with the Red Sox and apologized for his involvement in the 2017 Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, which earned him a one-year suspension from MLB.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to manage once again and return to the game I have loved my entire life,” Cora said in the release. “This past year, I have had time to reflect and evaluate many things, and I recognize how fortunate I am to lead this team once again.  Not being a part of the game of baseball, and the pain of bringing negative attention to my family and this organization was extremely difficult. I am sorry for the harm my past actions have caused and will work hard to make this organization and its fans proud.

“I owe John Henry, Tom Werner, Mike Gordon, Sam Kennedy, Chaim Bloom and Brian O’Halloran my gratitude for giving me another chance,” Cora continued. “I am eager to get back to work with our front office, coaches, and especially our players. Boston is where I have always wanted to be and I could not be more excited to help the Red Sox achieve our ultimate goal of winning in October.”

“Alex Cora is an outstanding manager, and the right person to lead our club into 2021 and beyond,” said Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom. “The way he leads, inspires, and connects with everyone around him is almost unmatched, and he has incredible baseball acumen and feel for the game.”

Bloom said that he interview several candidates for Boston’s managerial opening, including some of the “brightest” managerial prospects in the game, but Cora was the clear choice for his old job.

“Our conversations were lengthy, intense, and emotional. Alex knows that what he did was wrong, and he regrets it. My belief is that every candidate should be considered in full: strengths and weaknesses, accomplishments and failures. That is what I did with Alex in making this choice,” said Bloom. “He loves the Red Sox and the game of baseball, and because of that we believe he will make good on this second chance. I join our whole organization in welcoming Alex back to Boston and Fenway Park.”

Cora was first hired as Boston’s manager in 2018, and he led the team to a franchise-record 108 regular-season wins and a World Series title in his first season on the bench. The team went 84-78 and missed the playoffs in 2019, and Cora and the Red Sox agreed to mutually part ways last January following MLB’s investigation into the Astros scandal.

But now Cora is back, becoming the fifth person to manage the Red Sox in two separate stints, joining Bill Carrigan (1913-16, ’27-29), Mike Higgins (1955-59, ’60-62), Johnny Pesky (1963-64, ’80), and Eddie Popowski (1969, ’73).

Cora, Bloom, Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy and GM Brian O’Halloran will chat with reporters via Zoom early next week.

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