Mets, Cora agree to 1-year deal

NEW YORK -- Alex Cora is staying with the New York Mets, agreeing Monday to a $2 million, one-year contract with a vesting option for 2011.

The 34-year-old backup infielder played 82 games this year, batting .251 with one home run, 18 RBIs and eight steals. He made 54 starts at shortstop, becoming the regular after Jose Reyes got hurt. But Cora didn't play after Aug. 12 because of torn ligaments in both thumbs that required surgery.

Cora also started 13 games at second base for a fourth-place team that finished 70-92. He often was praised by manager Jerry Manuel and other Mets decision-makers for his instincts and leadership.

A light hitter with a reliable glove, Cora has a .246 career batting average in 1,116 big league games with the Dodgers, Indians, Red Sox and Mets.

He can earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses: $250,000 each for 80, 90, 100 and 110 starts. There is a $2 million option for 2011 that becomes guaranteed if he plays in 80 games next season.

"I am excited about coming back," Cora said in a statement. "We have a lot to prove as a team after what happened last year. As for me personally, there is unfinished business. I was hurt a great deal of the time and I really wasn't able to perform like I know I can. I'm healthy now and I can't wait to get to spring training. We all have something to prove."