Results tagged ‘ John Farrell ’

Mookie gets a day

Mookie Betts got his first day off of the season on Thursday night against the Rockies. Betts was Boston’s only player to start the first 46 games.

In his place, the ultra-hot Jackie Bradley Jr. batted leadoff. However, this is just a one-day thing, as  Bradley will move back toward the middle of the order on Friday.

Blake Swihart is Boston’s emergency catcher tonight if something happens to Christian Vazquez. Ryan Hanigan is still ill. Manager John Farrell said there’s a chance Swihart could start at catcher on Friday if Hanigan isn’t up to it.

 

Farrell trying to pick spots for Ortiz

David Ortiz was out of the lineup on Tuesday night, marking his first day off since April 26, when he the Red Sox didn’t have the DH in Atlanta.

With the Red Sox facing lefty Sean Manaea, manager John Farrell felt it was a good time to give Ortiz a rest during  this stretch in which his  team plays 32 games in 33 days.

“As strong a start as he’s had, personally, I lose sight that he’s 40 years old,” said Farrell. “There are going to be periodic days for rest. I thought tonight was a matchup that, maybe our right-handers have a better matchup. David’s a good matchup against anyone. If you’re picking your spots, this is a day for David to be down.”

Brock Holt also got a rest, with Chris Young  playing left. Hanley Ramirez replaced Ortiz at DH, with Travis Shaw moving from third to first and  Josh Rutledge got the nod  at third.

 

Dombo talks Panda, and Vazquez/Swihart

Dave Dombrowski spoke to the media for roughly 15 minutes today to talk about Pablo Sandoval and  Blake Swihart/Christian Vazquez. Here is a sampling.

The latest on Sandoval: 

“So, he had an MRI yesterday. There’s a great deal going on in his left shoulder from a medical perspective. He is going to get a second opinion on Monday, from Dr. Andrews. Monday morning. Then we will have a disclosure at that point on what actually is involved with his shoulder. Until we get the second opinion, we’re going to wait to make any kind of statements on that because we want to make sure whatever is diagnosed is the proper one. We talked to his agent about that this morning, Rick Thurman. He felt comfortable with that situation, as does Pablo. And so that’s what our plans are.”

Could the injury require surgery?

“I’m not going to speculate on anything but I won’t rule anything out either.”

Is it an ominous sign that Sandoval is seeing Andrews?

“Well, Dr. Andrews, if he’s not the best, he’s one of the best. We’ve sent many people to them. But I think when you’re dealing with a situation that’s with any player really, but a player that you want to make sure what exactly is in there that he’s one of the best and so you send it to him. I’ve had plenty of guys go there and come back with the same exact diagnosis and everything be smooth. And other guys, sometimes they see a little bit different. Dr. Andrews, I have the utmost respect for him, as does our medical team as does Pablo and his agent.”

The playing time issue is officially on the backburner.

“Well, right now, we’re in a situation where we need to get him healthy. And when people ask what his situation is, really, speculation doesn’t serve me any good. It’s just really a situation, the first thing with him is to tackle the medical aspect of it. And I would do that with any player.”

What about a report from Yahoo that Sandoval only wants to stay in Boston if he’s playing every day?

“It’s never been termed that way to me. I know he wants to play every day. But he also understands the situation.”

Then, the conversation switched to Swihart.

How hard was it to send him down? 

“Yeah, lot of conversations on that situation. Very difficult decision because of how much we like Blake and how good a player we think he is. We emphasized that to him when we talked. We’ve thought about, should we carry three catchers or not? A lot of people were involved in the decision, really the whole staff. I had a long conversation with Jason Varitek. I ran into him the other day, it just so happened, in the morning at Dunkin Donuts, having a cup of coffee, and we talked  for over an hour on the situation. Then we met that afternoon. And really our feelings at this time are two-fold.

“One is, what it comes down to, we think he has a chance to be a good catcher, an all-star type of catcher. It won’t hurt him to go down and continue to develop those skills. With Christian coming on board, we don’t think that the catching time here will be enough to continue for him to grow in that regard. We do want him to continue to catch. The second part of it is as we look towards the future and even as time goes on, we would like Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart to  both be part of our club. And they’re both not going to be everyday catchers with our  team.

“Blake’s more athletic. He’s a converted  catcher. We think he can make a conversion to another position. Even on a part-time basis, so we can keep his bat in the lineup. So he’s also  going to learn, when we send him out, we’re going to start hitting him flyballs in left field. We think that’s more fair to do that down in Triple-A  then just put him in at the big league level and say, here you go, so he’s also going to start  working on that. so the combination between catching, we’re not going to put him right in left field to play. We’re going to start hitting him some flyballs. We think he’ll be able to make  the conversion while  continuing to catch and DH. He’ll be in the lineup every day and we think that’s more beneficial for him at this stage of his career than it would be playing on a periodic basis here.”

How did Swihart take the news, and the suggestion to try left field?

“He was fine. I think to probably describe him would be that he would be a little disappointed, as anybody would be if they aren’t staying here. But he handled it professionally. John Farrell’s the one who told him. I was in there with Mike Hazen and with Dana and John presented to him very well because we had emphasized to him, which we heartfully meant, how important he is for us in the future, how highly we think of him as a player and as a person. We think he will be a key contributor to the Boston Red Sox for years to come. But we thought this was the best plan at this point.

“And John can tell you better than I can because he was the one involved with it in spring training, but it was even before we started playing games in spring training. This was a topic we’ve talked about. Where this is going to go? But we couldn’t tackle it during spring training because he was a No. 1 catcher, our Opening Day catcher, and we didn’t want him thinking about something else other than that at this particular moment. But he was standing in the outfield and I don’t think we had started playing regular official workouts at that time and he asked John, ‘Christian is doing pretty well.’ ‘Yeah, he is doing pretty well.’ ‘It looks like he might be back pretty quickly.’ ‘He could be.’ We had thought at one time that Christian could be ready for Opening Day. We just took our time a little more with that.

“He said, ‘What’s the plan?’ And John said, ‘We love you. We think you’re great. We like your catching and your our guy. But you might want to think about taking some fly balls in the outfield here in left field.’ It never really came to fruition because Christian never really got close to being ready Opening Day, but Blake’s response was, ‘I’ll do anything. I just want to play for the Red Sox. I just want to be ready to go and I’m ready to help wherever I can.’ He was open-minded to that and John touched on that conversation today.

Why have Swihart keep catching and play the outfield?

“Well, it’s a great question. Basically, still he’s a foul-tip away from coming back to the big leagues as a catcher. So, he needs to keep working on that skill totally. I mean, Jason Varitek, I’m sure he would tell you, he’s told me, ‘I think he’s going to be an All-Star catcher.’ That’s what Jason Varitek tells me. He knows catching better than I do. Only time will tell that. He thinks he’s going to be that good. He also says, ‘I think Christian Vazquez is a gifted receiver, like not too many others.’ So, you’re really tackling an issue that’s kind of a difficult one, but as Ruben Amaro pointed out in our meeting, he said, ‘It’s a much better situation to be talking about having talent than not having talent.’

“I think what it does, it allows us to be in a position to just analyze how it goes at this time. He’s not doing it under the microscope here. I don’t think it would be fair to him to put him in left field here and start playing him in games. We just want to try to develop both skills. And it doesn’t mean, for example, as we talked about too in our meeting, let’s say he’s catching tomorrow. Well, that particular day, he’s not going to be taking a bunch of fly balls in left field that particular day. He’s going to be focusing on catching. Doesn’t mean at 2:30 he may not go out there and here 10 minutes of instruction at some point, but we’re going to try to do things in a wise fashion.”

Pablo, Rusney debut in Toronto

With a quick turnaround after last night’s thrilling victory, manager John Farrell made a couple of lineup changes for  Saturday afternoon’s matinee in Toronto.

Pablo Sandoval and Rusney Castillo, who are owed a combined $134.5 million for the balance of their contracts and are playing bench roles, are both in the lineup. Sandoval is at third, with Travis Shaw moving to first and Hanley Ramirez serving as the DH.  David Ortiz will get a rest. Castillo is in center, with Jackie Bradley out of the lineup.

“To get everybody on the field, get everybody involved in a ballgame on this first road trip,” said Farrell. “[R.A.] Dickey’s kind of an unusual matchup for us and I think there are certain types of swings that we have felt, over a course of time, that have played better against a knuckleballer. It’s an opportunity for Rusney to get into center field, put Panda on the field as well, who’s swung the bat in a limited number of bats but at least he’s swung the bat decently against Dickey. This keeps everybody involved.”

Chris Young, who is 1-for-13 lifetime against Dickey, is expected to make his first start of the season tomorrow.

Despite needing the bullpen for six innings on Friday, Farrell thinks he’ll have enough coverage on Saturday.

“Barnes will be available. We’re certainly covered, we’ve got the ability to match up if needed. We’re in decent shape,” Farrell said.

Tito talks Farrell, Papi

The Red Sox open the 2016 season against a familiar face in Indians manager Terry Francona, who guided Boston to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.

Francona is always all-business once the games begin. But he was expansive on his close friend  John Farrell as well as David Ortiz during Sunday’s news conference.

This will be Farrell’s first regular-season game since undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer last summer. Francona  accompanied Farrell to his first treatment and has been in constant contact with his former pitching coach.

“Once the game starts, you want to win so bad that you don’t really care who is over there. But certainly seeing him, I saw him earlier today walking to the clubhouse, certainly seeing him healthy and smiling and laughing is more meaningful than any game we’ll ever play. Once the game starts, we want to win bad. So do they. But seeing him happy and healthy and smiling is better than anything else.”

He’s one of my best friends so I’ve talked to him a lot. I don’t think he ever doubted this would have happened this way. I don’t think, as a friend, I would have doubted it either just because I know him. I know the care he was getting. That was really something to see. One of the things I was happiest about is that I knew Larry Ronan was watching out and was in charge of everything  that was going on with John. I was really grateful for that. If you’re going to have something that’s serious, you can’t be in better hands.”

Francona  has never downplayed how vital Ortiz was to the two World  Series rings he owns. There will be a lot of attention on Ortiz in this, his final season. Francona thinks the gregarious slugger deserves all the accolades he gets.

“I know what he’s meant to Boston. He went there and some guys kind of shrink in that atmosphere and he just blossomed. It brought out his true personality and he embraced it. He’s  been through a lot there. He’s certainly the face of the Red Sox, or one of them, and probably the same goes for the face of baseball. He’s got that big smile that when you walk in the room, or when somebody walks in the room, he can disarm you just like that. I don’t care who you are. He’s a big teddy bear.”

Then, Francona displayed the humor he is known for.

“I think all things considered, because it is his last year, I think he should take the next three days off and just enjoy Cleveland and we’ll honor him at home plate, but he should probably not play.”

Francona realized  early on in his time in Boston that Ortiz was not only an impact figure on the field  but also off of it.

“Early on when I got there, I realized real quick you could go to him if you got something you needed to get done, which is important, real important. And we had a lot of guys like that. David transcends languages, colors, things like that. If you were in his uniform, that was what mattered. That meant a lot to me. David and I went through a lot. Good. Some tough, The pinch hitting one year. He’s a proud man. That was hard for him. Hard for me. But we fought through it and that’s what’s more important.”

Farrell returns; so does Lovullo

Just as everyone was arriving to the ballpark for Game Number 162, the Red Sox announced that John Farrell will return as manager in 2016. Torey Lovullo signed a new two-year deal to stay on as bench coach, and continue to lend support as Farrell battles back from Stage 1 lymphona.

Here was the reaction of former Red Sox manager Terry Francona:

“I actually didn’t know it needed to be news. I really didn’t. So I’m not sure how to react because I didn’t know that it necessarily needed to be news. I guess I always figured he would. I’ve been so fixated on him as a friend and what he’s going through that I’ve really never thought about it. I never even thought to ask him. In all the conversations, I never thought to ask him. I guess as much as we all care about baseball, when that enters into it, I really never thought to even bring it up.”

Here was the reaction of Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia:

“That’s the thought the players had all along. We’re hoping that John recovers what he’s going through and can’t wait to get him back.  It’s going to be good to have John back healthy and around the guys again. That’s’ everyone’s first concern, health. We want him to be back to normal and be fine. If he is, he’s obviously going to be our manager.”

 

Here was the reaction of Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski:

 

“John’s case, and have been consistent and meaningful in his situation that I told him all along that he needs to be healthy, first and foremost. He finished his last chemo treatments, this round, this past week. At some point, we needed to move forward and kind of set where we’re going into the future. I called John yesterday and when we’ve had conversations, all of our conversations that we’ve had, which hasn’t been as numerous as would normally be the case if he was healthy of course, have always been towards 2016. But I never really gave him that 100 percent that, I had always given him the indication, but needed to be in a position where it basically closed that loop. Yesterday, I called him back and said we’re ready to step forward to do this. ”

“The problem with it is the process of his health is still first and foremost. All indications are good. He will have some tests again in about three weeks to see where he stands at that point so in his case it’s a  situation where in three weeks he’ll have a little bit better feel. But right now, he feels as if he will be OK for next year to move forward. The doctors have given that indication. The difficulty becomes, and I’m not an expert on this, so I cannot claim to give you any special insight, other than what doctors have told me a couple of times that I’ve talked to people, when you go through what John is going through, which is of course, major, the feelings are that he will be in a spot where 97 percent of the time you come through from a health perspective on this.

“Sometimes you don’t feel up to 100 percent for three to six months, is what people tell me. I do know that. I’m just telling you what the doctors have told me. I also think that the commitment’s made to John, he’ll be our manager for 2016, he should be fine. But I also want to make sure, how do we protect ourselves in case when you put six months, and again, I’m not sure it’s going to be six  months, I hope it’s three months, and if it’s three months, the time frame works out well. But what happens if it’s six months? We’re already into the start of next season. You’re also in a position where you start talking about spring training, preparation for Spring Training, it’s a great time of year but it also can be a grueling time of year and I don’t want that extra stress on him to feel that I’ve got to be ready, I’ve got to be ready.

“Trying to come up with what ideally would be a fallback plan if he just wasn’t quite up to par. Thought long and hard about it. Have been very impressed of course with Torey and Torey’s done a great job for us. I don’t think he could have handled himself any better than what he has, not only running the club in John’s absence, taking control, but also always giving the proper authority to John and staying in contact with John, knowing it’s John’s team. So I had a thought that perhaps this would be a way that it would work, to protect ourselves. I didn’t know how Torey would feel about it. I ran it through John Henry and Tom Werner a couple of weeks ago my thought processes and how it would work in approaching Torey about staying on board to see if he’d be willing to do that. Offered him the two-year contract, but it wasn’t about that with Torey. It was really a situation where he thought about the scenario. He’s very committed to the Red Sox organization, very committed to John, so he has given up his ability to interview for next year as a manager. He made that commitment to the organization. We’re very thankful for what he has done. I think it’s a situation where hopefully we’re protected as well as we possibly can. Hopefully John’s back, he’s feeling great, he’s ready to go. If for some reason, he’s a little slower to come back or not 100 percent, his trusted right-hand, lieutenant is there for him to help him at that point, so that’s really how we went with it.”

Here was the reaction of Torey Lovullo on going back to his bench role, but being available in case John Farrell still isn’t feeling 100 percent:

“Like I said, I’m a processor, so I got as much information as I possibly could and I thought about a lot of things. That was one of the main reasons, is that I want to see that process through. I want to be here for John, I want to assist John in any way I possibly can, and I want to make sure it lines up the way it’s supposed to line up before I ran out on him, is how I’m looking at it.”

 

 

 

Here is Dombrowski’s reaction on if things could become awkward if the Red Sox get off to a slow start under Farrell, given  Lovullo’s success as interim manager.

“Not really, for the simple fact that he’s John’s guy. John is the one who brought him on board. He’s his closest confidant. That’s his bench coach. I think what ends up happening is, there’s always speculation in today’s world about what takes place if the club is not playing well. Hopefully that won’t be the case. Hopefully the club will play well. But it’s a situation – I can’t think of a situation where he’d be more comfortable with someone. That’s John’s guy.”

Here is Lovullo’s reaction on being secure enough in himself to feel comfortable passing  on managerial openings that might arise in the coming days.

“I’ve learned that being a major-league manager is all about timing and opportunity. They don’t come up all the time. Whether this enhances my ability to manage one day or not is out of my control, as it has been since Day One. I’m just going to continue doing my thing the way I know how, and the right situation will pop up if it’s supposed to happen. I’m a big believer in timing. We’ll see what happens once things move in the direction that I could possibly correspond with a team. For right now, for one year, it’s not going to be a possibility.”

 

Rodriguez to debut Thursday in Texas

Highly-touted lefty prospect Eduardo Rodriguez will make his Major League debut for the Red Sox when he starts on Thursday night at Texas.

The Red Sox will make a corresponding roster move before Thursday’s game. Manager John Farrell said that he isn’t bumping anyone from the rotation, and that he will go with six starters this time through. The Red Sox are in the midst of a stretch of 20 games in a row without a day off.

At this point, Rodriguez — ranked as the fourth best Red Sox prospect by MLB Pipeline — is only expected to make the one start before going back down to Triple-A. But Farrell has reserved the right to change his mind.

The Red Sox acquired Rodriguez from the Orioles for Andrew Miller on July 31, 2014.

Rodriguez, 22, is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Pawtucket this season.

Game 2 in Philly

After a glorious weather day on Opening Day, the Red Sox and Phillies are playing under dreary and raw conditions tonight.

It was somewhat interesting that Shane Victorino was not in the lineup for Game 2, after a day off on Tuesday. But Daniel Nava is going to get his share of starts also, and the same goes for Allen Craig. John Farrell has a lot of depth to manage.

Farrell said that part of the reason Victorino was sitting was the weather. No use risking an injury for someone coming off back surgery.

Victorino was 9-for-27 lifetime vs. Harang entering this one. Nava was 1-for-2.

This was the first time we’ve had a chance to speak with John Farrell since Rick Porcello signed his new contract. Here is what Farrell had to say about it.

“We’re talking about a free agent to be at 26 years old who’s pitched 200 innings, that’s evolving in his own right to be an upper echelon type of starter. It’s clearly a commitment on our ownership’s part. It’s also betting on a guy that we’ve grown to have a pretty good understanding in the two months that he’s been here, even though he hasn’t thrown a pitch yet,” Farrell said before Porcello took the mound against the Phillies. “You bet on the individual when you make these kind of investments. Rick is very detail-oriented and he’s committed to his own personal routine to prepare each and every day. And the fact he’s going to be pitching this season at 26 years of age, the five years we’re going to get him ideally at the prime of his major league career given the age and what all information would suggest with guys of that age group.”

March 7: Split squads vs. Twins, Orioles

Today is the first split squad game of the Grapefruit League for the Red Sox, with the regulars playing at home against the Twins, and the reserves hitting Sarasota to play the Orioles.

Opponents: Home vs. Twins (1-1), 1:05 p.m. ET; Away vs. Orioles (2-3), 1:05 p.m. ET.

TV/radio: Home game on 93.7, WEEI, and of course, also available here: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/mediacenter/index.jsp?c_id=bos&affiliateId=clubMENU#date=3/7/2015

Today’s home lineup: Betts CF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Ramirez LF, Sandoval 3B, Napoli 1B, Nava RF, Bogaerts SS, Hanigan C.

Today’s road lineup: Bradley, Jr. CF, Weeks 2B, Craig LF, LaHair DH, Swihart C, Cecchini 3B, Brentz RF, Shaw 1B, Bianchi SS.

Starting matchups: Home, Buchholz vs. Hughes. Away, Wright vs. Norris.

Available out of the bullpen: Home, Breslow, Workman, Eveland, Varvaro, Boggs, Ramirez. Road, Rodriguez, Escobar, Spruill, Hinojosa, Celestino.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com:

Castillo injury not as bad as originally feared: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111543916/oblique-improving-castillo-logs-light-workout

Masterson revels in being healthy again: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111544198/masterson-right-at-home-after-first-outing-back-with-sox

Though Barnes is a starter, he could be weapon in bullpen: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111496864/barnes-impresses-farrell-with-velocity-in-relief-outing

Slight news update this morning: No Shane Victorino for the next couple of days as he battled general soreness. But John Farrell said it is not back related.

Farrell extended through ’17

So why did the Red Sox extend John Farrell’s contract through 2017 with an option for ’18?

The main reason, obviously, is that they believe very strongly in him, and last season’s disappointment did nothing to change that.

This also takes away any chance that Farrell’s contract could become a distraction. Remember how Terry Francona’s lack of an extension seemed like a non-story in 2011?

The Red Sox, in my humble opinion, were smart to get out in front of this one, announcing the deal on the same day as the first official team workout.

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