Alex Cora is back in Boston ... the Red Sox have re-hired him as their manager after he spent this past season serving a ban for his role in the Astros' cheating scandal.
The team made the move Friday ... according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, who added Red Sox brass interviewed Cora last week in Puerto Rico.
"Apparently," Heyman reported, "he answered all their questions satisfactorily."
Of course, the hiring will no doubt cause controversy in MLB circles ... Cora was outed as one of the integral pieces of the Astros' sign-stealing cheating scandal back in 2017.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a report last February that Cora -- a 'Stros bench coach at the time -- was the mastermind behind the whole trash-banging scheme.
For his part, Alex didn't deny the cheating and accepted the one-season ban that Manfred hit him with ... but the 45-year-old manager added he was pissed others involved in the scheme weren't hit with similar punishments.
"We all did it," Cora said in an interview with ESPN this summer ... before adding, "Everyone who was part of the team from around mid-May until the end of the season, we are all responsible."
Cora was a great manager for the Sox before his ban ... he won 192 games -- including a World Series -- in 2 seasons with the team after they hired him before the 2018 season.