Results tagged ‘ John Farrell ’
The Red Sox got the best news possible on Thursday morning. Will Middlebrooks was absolutely fine, a day after exiting the game with discomfort in his surgically repaired right wrist. In fact, Middlebooks could well be in the starting lineup for Friday night’s home game against the Cardinals.
“His exam this morning was benign,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He didn’t feel any discomfort when he was put through a battery of tests and he’s actually been cleared for all baseball activities, but I’m sure he’s going to take the day to just let it rest. But given the way he came out after the swing, it was obviously very good news this morning.”
When will he play? “He’ll be day to day, until he takes BP, which should be tomorrow,” Farrell said. “Our plan right now is that he would be able to go tomorrow, but we’ll just be sure he comes through BP without any issue.”
Third base is one position the Red Sox don’t have much depth at. “Well at the time of the swing, it wasn’t real encouraging. Given what he came through with the fracture a year ago, I can understand that he was a little tentative and probably a little scared,” Farrell said. “Fortunately this morning things checked out OK.”
After a last-place finish, it’s only natural that expectations will be down for the Red Sox this season. But Dustin Pedroia doesn’t much care what the pundits think. He has arrived in camp with his typical enthusiasm and drive.
“That it was easy, and you expect it to happen every year,” Pedroia said when asked what it was like winning the World Series his rookie year. “But I still do. I still feel that it will never change. Our goal is to win the World Series every year. If we come into camp and that’s not the goal [something’s wrong]. I know everybody thinks that’s not our goal right now but it is. “
Pedroia loves the roster moves Ben Cherington made over the winter because he feels there are a bunch of newcomers who share his mentality.
“Yeah, it’s going to be fun,” Pedroia said. “You see them around the game; they are guys known for loving to play the game. They like tough atmospheres and good places to play. It’s going to be fun playing with those guys.”
Nobody around the Red Sox had any fun last year. And though it became trendy to blame one-year manager Bobby Valentine for everything that went wrong, Pedroia said, “None. It’s the players. Bobby didn’t go out there and get any hits or make any errors or do any of that. We lost those games. It’s on us.”
That said, Pedroia can’t wait to play for John Farrell. “John’s awesome,” Pedroia said. “Everybody got to know him when he was here before. He’s easy to talk to. Obviously when he walks into the room, he has that presence. It’s going to be great for us.”
By the way, Pedroia got a kick out of the revelation in Terry Francona’s recently-released book that the Red Sox conducted a marketing research study that indicated the Sox needed ‘sexy’ players like … Dustin Pedroia to increase ratings.
“What was my first reaction? They didn’t need to hire a damn marketing team,”quipped Pedroia. “I could have told them that for free. I don’t know. I just started laughing. I was like, no, that’s pretty funny.”
John Farrell was the man of the hour on Tuesday, unveiled as the 46th manager in Red Sox history.
Here are some of the many topics he discussed.
Can the Red Sox contend in 2013? “I think a couple of things will need to happen. certain players return to the form and the performance that they’ve established for themselves and not just one-year situation. Guys who have estabilished a cereer path and a career recod of being above average and get the guys back who were taken out because of injury, to get them back fully healthy and then whatever additions are brought forward into this group. I think this has got an opportunity to be a fairly quick turnaournd and get to the point of contending next year.”
Where do thing stand with the coaching staff? “I wouldn’t say were really advanced. I would say we’ve got a number of names who are candidates for the roles that exist. Still determining the coaches who were here last year and will they continue to go forward. We’re probably in the third or fourth inning.”
How critical is the pitching coach hire? “Yeah, I think with any position, I think stablility is critical. I think it’s important to know for the pitching coach to know coming in this isn’t going to be a position, because so much has been brought out with the return here, that it’s not going to be micromanaged. Certainly there’s going to be involvement but that person needs the freedom to do his job and to the best of his ability. That’s why, to me, it’s important to get the most qualified pitching coach available and bring him in here.”
In essence, here was Farrell’s mission statement. “As far as what you can expect on the field, I truly believe that in an uptempo aggressive style of play. It will certainly take into account the strength of our roster. That’s a given. But I think to play that style of game, it does create an attitude, which I think is critical to win at the major league level, and that’s to be relentless. With our effort, with our preparation, with the work and the competitiveness that we take the field every night, that is of the utmost importance of how we play. So for the fans that will watch this team take the field, that’s, in some ways, a non negotiable as far as I look at it. our effort is controlled every night. It’s something we can control.
“And to give forth our best effort is a minimum. As far as dealing with players, I firmly believe that there’s an amount of professionalism that every player who comes to the big leagues and certainly would come to the Red Sox would have. That guides their preparation, their motivation, all those adjectives you can attest to it or attach to it. most importantly, because I’ve been here before, there will be no taking for granted that relationships exist. I will work my butt off to earn their trust, earn their respect and create an environment in that clubhouse that is just that. it’s a trusting that, it will be a learning one, and yes, it will be a competitive one and hopefully a very successful one at the same time. If that’s being described as a player’s manager, then maybe that’s what I am. That’s still forming. I’m still learning.
“But I feel, as I mentioned before, I’m in a much better place today than I was two years ago because of those experiences. And finally, my many conversations over the last few days with Ben, we do have a number of things we’ve got to take care of. First will be the staff to get that in place and that’s ongoing. We’ll have those updates as they become available. Just one note, on probably the attributes and the characteristics of the people that we would like to assemble here – they are guys that are going to be credible. They will have different sets of experiences. But the fact that they will have the players backs and interests in their minds, maybe their guide, will be a criteria that I’ll look to include in every guy that’s added to the staff. I think it’s critical that we work as a unity. There’s the ability to challenge once another and express opinions in that coach’s room and in our offices downstairs, but when we go out, we will be on the same page and working on one voice and I think that’s something that’s important to the overall approach of a club. We’re eager to get started and hit the ground running.”
Changing the culture in the clubhouse? “I can’t speak to what the Red Sox clubhouse was last year. I think it’s important that we communicate consistently to the players, we outline expectations and we have to hold players accountable to what we’re trying to get done. That’s leading people. At the same time, they have to have a voice in this to give their input. That’s not to say it doesn’t have a leader at the head or a rudder to guide the ship. But I think it’s important their inclusion is there. It has to be a positive place that they want to come to every single day.”
Things he learned from Toronto. “There were times where I could have, and this comes from those experiences in Toronto, in my relationship with Alex and the conversations we would have regarding the roster, there might have been opportunities for me to speak a little bit more passionately towards some suggestions or recommendations to the roster. We also introduced and brought in a number of young players. We created a diverse offense that was aggressive. We looked to incorporate a much more aggressive running game. Some of that was overboard and some of that we ran into some outs. Creating that environment and that approach and then putting young players into it, there probably were opportunities where I should have shut them down as far as the Xs and Os of the game. Maybe I would have changed closers a little bit quicker.”
What makes Boston so special? “One, I think Boston is in my mind and it may be debatable across the country, this is the epicenter of the game. To come in and have at least four years experience previous to, not having sat in this seat, but close to it to see the demands of this position and the passion of this region, the energy that’s in this ballpark every single night. That energy and what people expect holds our players accountable for the effort they put out every single night. Yes, there are some relationships still existing with some of the players here, but by no means will that be taken for granted. There’s familiarity, there’s an understanding maybe of the person I am and who they are, but it’ll be my approach to go back in — and it’s already started with conversations; I had a sitdown with David here earlier today — to start to earn his trust and regain and reestablish all those relationships.”
Helping to restore Lester, Buchholz, etc. “Setting aside Jon’s mention, setting aside Clay’s name, we all recognize how important pitching and particularly starting pitching. You look at every team that has advanced to the postseason, and let’s face it, that’s how we’re going to be measured, not if we get into the postseason, but how deep do we progress into the postseason. And it typically starts and ends with your starting rotation. So that is a priority. Not only with the returning guys, which I think is a very strong, core group, when you consider Jon, when you consider Felix, Clay, the return of John Lackey, that is going to be an important part of that. So there are things across the field .. There was a question before about across the field, what did you see some things differently? Yeah, from a pitching standpoint there were some very obvious things with Jon that he and I have already talked about that you saw with his delivery that he kind of drifted into that might have affected his overall consistency. You can’t underemphasize the importance of a starting rotation.”
On the separation between being a manager and pitching coach. “There’s demands during the day that are going to keep me from going down to the bullpen and working with a pitcher on his side day. Certainly my conversations with the pitching coach, whoever that becomes here, will happen naturally because of my background. That’s what happened in Toronto. It will be no different than a former catcher managing a club and talking to a hitting instructor or positional coach there. I see that dynamic being very comparable. The one thing I will be very clear with the pitchers here prior is that it becomes an open line of communication, and not to bypass that passing coach. There can be no confusion in message. The player is ultimately the one who loses out in that and then we ultimately lose out, because there’s the potential for confusion.
The Red Sox have their hands full. “There’s a list of to-dos, no question. But with the roster that’s there now, there’s a core group there that you can build around. Having a comfort level with Ben and Mike and Brian and BOH and everyone in baseball ops, there’s no communication barriers. There’s no reluctance to give a gut feel or an educated opinion on a given player, on a given combination of things that might currently or what we’re trying to achieve from a roster standpoint. But the game also fosters change, whether it’s through free agency or opportunity. It would be the same if I were able to assemble a coaching staff that would get opportunities elsewhere to become managers. We would champion that. That means we’re getting quality people and putting our players in the best environment to have success as well.
Getting Daniel Bard back on track. “We’ve exchanged a couple of text messages and voice mails. Before getting a chance to talk with him in depth, I couldn’t begin to say what the steps to adjustments might be. But I think we all recognize, it wasn’t too long ago that this might’ve been the best eighth inning reliever in baseball. He’s not injured. That gives you every reason to believe that he might regain that performance ability.”
The Red Sox will likely wait until the conclusion of the National League Championship Series — Game 7 is Monday night — to have their formal press conference to unveil John Farrell as the team’s next manager.
Up in Toronto, Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos weighed in on the situation in a conference call on Sunday afternoon. Here is a sampling.
How the whole situation opened up for Farrell to be allowed to consider the Boston job. “I’m not sure if it was a Sunday or Monday, we were off on Monday (October 8), I spoke to John, starting going through offseason plans and so on, and that was the first time we talked about the Boston circumstances, the rumors and everything else. That was the first time we sat down all season even and addressed it and even spoke about it. John expressed to me that he’d really like an opportunity to pursue that if it came about. I explained to him that at that time, we hadn’t gotten any phone call at all, and that obviously we couldn’t hold up our offseason and even go down that path if we hadn’t gotten a phone call and we couldn’t wait forever.
“We ultimately agreed that we’d give it a few more days and see if there was going to be a phone call in the next few days. If we did not, then we were going to move forward. And if there was a call, then we were going to see if we could get something done. This was, as John explained it to me, a dream job for him, an opportunity he really wanted to pursue. So we felt if there was a deal that made sense for our club as well, we were going to try to go ahead and complete that. So we never really got that far [as an extension]. That’s really the chain of events.
“And then after, I guess, our conversation, I’m not sure if it was a day later or two days later, John Henry, one of the owners of the Boston Red Sox, reached out to our CEO Paul Beeston, to express interest in working out a trade. I don’t know how long it’s been — maybe eight or nine, 10 days, or whatever it’s been from that time, and here we are today. It finally got done.”
You said at the end of the season you were certain Farrell would be your manager in 2013. What changed? “My focus was completely on the roster. We have a lot of work to do on the roster, starting rotation — that’s where it needed to be. It was 100 percent John was going to be manager for 2013. We were going to continue to discuss things like we always do — finalize staff, finalize roster, talk about offseason needs, things like that. But ultimately, when we finally discussed the Boston scenario, the fact that it was a distraction that came up, I told him we hadn’t even received a phone call at that point. He told me he’d really like to pursue it and it was something he really wanted. Ultimately, we both agreed though, that we couldn’t wait on forever. If there wasn’t any movement within a few days, then we needed to put it to bed and move forward. John was on board with that and I was on board with that. We had already started to discuss staff, players, roster. We’d already started to talk about some of those things geared towards 2013.
What was the process like? “I don’t know that I’d characterize it one way or the other. For me, with this whole process, what’s more disappointing to me is that there’s so much false information put out there, whether it’s, I read something the other day that supposedly John asked to release Omar Vizquel in July. One hundred percent false. Not one ounce of truth to it. There was all kinds of other things.
“I thought there was, to be completely candid, gamesmanship and a lot of things that went on from a negotiating standpoint, not on our end. But I thought there were a lot of things that were coming out that were completely false. You guys all know, we’re pretty good at not putting things out there in the media, or leaking things, or saying things. There was just a lot, the upsetting part for me is how many false reports were out there, that I just didn’t think were fair to John or to myself or to the organization entirely. From that standpoint, it was a story that was not going away. But we can’t do anything to control that. That’s the game we’re in. It’s going to happen with players. It doesn’t usually happen with managers, but it was just a unique timing of events, with Terry Francona being let go the year after the hiring of John. I don’t think anyone expected that. Again, this is something that John wanted. From that standpoint, once he told us that he wanted it and this was something that he wanted to pursue, at that point, it made sense for us to at least look into it with no guarantees and no assurances. If we could do something that made sense, it didn’t make sense for us to hold him back if we couldn’t work something out.
“Paul Beeston has various longstanding relationships with the ownership group there and Larry Lucchino, he’s got a very strong relationship there. So I think at times there were some things, I mentioned some of them, we don’t know where it came from or how it started, but probably didn’t go as smoothly as we think it could have. That’s just reality. We want to apologize, myself and Paul, on behalf of the ballclub, the fact that this even leaked last night. This was not a done deal last night, in the sense that John was finalizing his deal — I think he finalized that last night — but we had not finalized the medical examinations on the players, which got done today, and we did not get approval from the Commissioner until today to even go forward with this. We weren’t even pleased with the way it came out last night. Who knows? When more than one person knows what’s going on, you don’t know where these things are coming from. But from our standpoint, we wanted to apologize to our media, the fact that it did come out the way that it did. That was not our intent and that was not supposed to be done that way. It was supposed to be done collectively today. “
Could you have had Farrell back with just one year left on his contract? “We could have. We talked about it. He was prepared to do so as well. One thing, he was honest. He didn’t lie. I think that’s one thing you have to respect him for. I certainly do. He’s always been that way. You’ll always get the truth out of John. You won’t get a lie. From that standpoint, obviously, my responsibility is to the ballclub. But I also understand. I understand the connections. I understand the ties. John has been there a long time. There’s a lot of strong relationships there.
“I understand , it’s not completely foreign to me why there’s an appeal there and why there would be a desire on his part, that this was the one job. That’s how he expressed it to me: This is the one job. There was no other city for him that was more of a perfect fit and a perfect opportunity.
But, again, he was very candid and we talked about it, but we were prepared to move forward at that point. It was not going to drag on. If we didn’t hear anything or there’d been no phone call within the next few days, that was it. it was done. We were moving forward. We’d even gotten pretty in depth about some things that we were going to do. So, we were fully prepared to move forward, 100 percent. But we got the phone call. From there, it developed over the last nine days or so.
On David Carpenter coming back to the Red Sox as compensation, “David Carpenter, at the time, we thought he had a good arm. Obviously he wasn’t the centerpiece of the deal. He was someone that we added late at the end. But the primary pieces of the deal were Happ and Lyon, and again, Carpenter was a guy that we were able to get put on late. He wasn’t the main part of that deal. But ultimately, in looking at our 40-man roster, David, unfortunately, was going to have to come off the 40-man just with the spot because even now, we’re pretty full. With getting Mike Aviles back, we’re adding a 40-man roster player. So David was going to come off the roster. He was going to be available to any team for $20,000 either way. From a procedural standpoint and a transactional standpoint, there needed to be some type of player going back in this transaction. Ultimately, for us, if there was a player who was going to come off the roster and be available to the other 29 teams for $20,000, it made sense to put him in the deal.”
How the Red Sox tried to hire Farrell last year. “I probably don’t even want to go down the path of last year. There’s enough that’s gone on this offseason with this transaction. I’m not looking to add more to this story or another dynamic. Obviously, it’s been a story that started last year, it died, and then it continued I guess in the month of August. Today, I prefer to talk about what did occur and what happened. That’s what happened this past offseason. I’d probably rather just leave it at that.
“John, he gave everything he had. He worked incredibly hard from start to finish. He never let up. His focus always remained on the job. There’s no question, you prefer that something like this does not happen. …
On Mike Aviles coming to the Jays for Farrell. “No doubt, everyone is looking at on-base pecentage. It’s very hard to get middle infielders who can play shortstop for a lot of at-bats and get a good on-base percentage guy. Those are normally superstar players. I think if we were getting a left fielder with a low on-base percentage or a first baseman with a low on-base percentage, and with the fact that he can play middle infield, if you look at the free-agent market right now with respect to shortstop, second base, it’s just so thin. The fact that Mike does have control past this year. He is a hard-nosed player. He is a gamer. He’s not without his flaws, if you look at the on-base and so on, but he is a high-energy player. He has some power. The fact that he can play the middle infield, which is so hard to find in today’s game and is becoming harder and harder to find — we just saw a big trade with Oakland trading a shortstop over to Arizona for their center fielder, who was an All-Star a few years ago, the currency that shortstops bring, it’s such a hard commodity to find. You’d love to get the ideal .360-.400 on-base percentage guy, but finding those guys at shortstop, it’s very, very hard to do.”
Funny how timing can be. With the rampant speculation about Bobby Valentine’s future with the Red Sox, what better time for John Farrell and the Blue Jays to come to town?
It is a poorly-kept secret that Farrell was likely the top choice to succeed Terry Francona as Boston’s manager following last season, but the Blue Jays had no interest in freeing him from his contract.
Maybe things have changed a little a year later. The Blue Jays, much like the Red Sox, are having an unsuccessful season in which they’ve been ravaged by injuries. Now, Farrell has just one season left on his contract.
If the Red Sox decide that Valentine — who also has one year left on his contract — isn’t their manager beyond this season, you’d like to think a deal could be worked out with Toronto for Farrell.
Anyway, with limbo being the obvious way to describe the current situation, here are some thoughts from Farrell:
“There’s a lot of speculation, obviously, but as I said last week in Toronto. I’m the manager of the Blue Jays. This is where my focus and commitment is. I’m under contract. That’s obvious,” Farrell said. “If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. At the same time, we’ve dealt with a lot of challenges ourselves. I can understand the natural connection, because I’ve worked here in the past, but my focus is clearly with the Blue Jays.”
“I don’t look at other situations, because my focus is here. We’ve got a lot of challenges ourselves with getting guys back on the field. I’ll say this – knowing what the Red Sox have gone through, with the amount of players they’ve lost to injury, I can empathize with Bobby and having to deal with a lot of changes to the roster. And because of that change, you’re always trying to filter in new guys and get an understanding of what their capabilities are and how you can best utilize them to win a ballgame.
Did Farrell expect there to be such a buzz surrounding his latest return to Boston? “I don’t know that you can fully anticipate anything. You understand there are articles written, there’s things that are out there. With respect to everyone involved, my focus is right here in this dugout in this uniform.
If Farrell stayed in Toronto, would he want assurances beyond next season, asked Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston?
“Gordon, you’re putting the cart way before the horse with that. My contract is through 2013. My approach day in and day out doesn’t hinge upon my status. My focus and attention is today, right here. “
Boston vs. Toronto? “Any place is going to have its own uniqueness to it. Managing is an honor. It’s a challenge at the same time. Different positions have different sets of challenges that are connected to them. Regardless of where you are, the focus remains on your task and duties at hand and doing the best job that you’re capable of at the time and that’s my focus right now, the challenge the Blue Jays have to face.
On what Terry Francona accomplished. “Having been in that dugout for four years, you do get the opportunity and the privilege to see it firsthand. He was a very successful manager, balanced a lot of different things both inside and out, he did a very good job. The history and the record speaks to that.”
“Through it all, through the ups and downs along the way, the one thing Tito always talked about was be true to yourself. As long as you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you did what you felt was the right thing to do, and that being the players come first, as long as you keep the players first in your decision-making and your thoughts toward them individually, you’re probably guided in the right direction to the right thing.”
Obviously, managers in Boston are under tremendous scrutiny. “I’ve never managed in Boston. I’ve only managed in one place, and that’s right here in Toronto. Having worked in Boston, sure, there’s a tremendous fan base that’s very passionate, the expectations are very high, but as a competitor, that’s what you aspire to do and be involved in.”
More on empathizing with Bobby V.
“As a manager, yes. We’ve had a lot of the same situations unfold, and it’s not easy. Its definitely not easy. We come in here today with a rotation that’s mapped out, and yet you come into the ballpark, you’re waiting for the next phone call, and in this case it’s J.A. Happ is out for the year. Not are you on Plan A or B; right now both teams are on Plan T or U. That’s where we’re at.”
How much does Farrell enjoy managing? “I love it. It’s an honor to be in the position entrusted with the team, to run a team at field level, and that’s never taken lightly. I can’t wait to get to the ballpark every day.”
Obviously, Farrell still has ties in the Red Sox organization.
“I had the fortunate ability to work closely with guys that I respect and guys that we have history even prior to working here in Boston, whether it was Mike Hazen and I running the farm system in Cleveland. Not only are they professional colleagues, on some level they became personal friends. We had success, we shared a lot of challenges along the way. That’s what you would hope would take place having worked for a number of years in one place or another.”
Three former coaches from Red Sox championship teams all held court at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday as managers of their respective teams.
Yes, Terry Francona, who was officially unveiled by ESPN in a conference call Tuesday, has a bit of a managing tree.
Dale Sveum, the Red Sox third base coach in 2004-05, is the Cubs’ manager, and interviewed twice with Boston before Bobby Valentine was hired.
Brad Mills now enters his third year as manager of the Astros after serving as Tito’s bench coach in Boston from 2004-09.
And John Farrell, Francona’s pitching coach from 2007-09, is entering his second year with the Blue Jays, and reportedly was the object of Boston’s affection this winter, but the Blue Jays weren’t going to let him out of his contract.
Was Sveum surprised his dialogue with the Red Sox didn’t go any further than a second interview?
“I don’t know if it was a surprise or not. It was basically that time where somebody was going to offer me a job or not offer me a job,” Sveum said. ” So the Cubs offered me the job first and that’s kind of where it ended up anyway, after my second interview. After going through all those second interviews, it was just nice to get one offer.”
Mills is getting a chuckle over Francona’s move to broadcasting.
“Every time I talk to him now I say is this off the record or on the records,” laughed Mills. ” I’ve always told him, too, that if he’s on TV he might have to spend two hours in makeup just to be on TV. But you know what, all that aside, you know how much I think of him and how great a job that he did there in Boston. And he’s going to do a great job with ESPN, as well. You guys ought to know that even better than I do. It’s pretty cool. And I’m thrilled to death for him to be able to do that.”
Farrell on the perceived interest the Red Sox had in him to be their next manager?
“Well, first and foremost, I’m a Toronto Blue Jay. There was a lot of speculation, an article that started out that created a lot of feedback, and I totally understand Paul and Alex’s approach to having to change a policy to deflect and really squelch out a distraction that started to be created,” Farrell said. “You know, it’s humbling when your name is associated with a potential opening, but I’m completely happy here, committed to the Blue Jays, and to think about any other place or any other position while you’re doing your own is a disservice to where you are. I’m excited about being here and look forward to putting this team together to win a World Series here. That’s our stated goal. That’s what our goal has been, and I’m happy to be doing it here.”
Thoughts on Boston’s September collapse and the fallout that came with it?
“I never saw some of the things that people would read about,” Farrell said. ” I really can’t comment on what took place inside of the clubhouse there. I know in the time that I spent there, I didn’t see the things that were being reported on. They’re our opponent, so it’s our job right now to attempt and work towards overtaking them in the standings, and that’s our approach day in and day out. I really can’t comment on what took place there.”
How about Bobby Valentine as the new Red Sox manager?
“Well‑respected baseball guy,” Farrell said. ” The Red Sox are always a challenge for anybody, and they’ve got a lot of good players. We’re going to have to play extremely well to move ahead of them. Changes take place all over this game, but we know they’re going to be a very tough opponent.”
Not much else has happened Red Sox-related here in Dallas thus far today. Andrew Miller re-signed for one non-guaranteed year. David Ortiz has until midnight at the end of tomorrow to accept arbitration. Boston is expected to meet with Ortiz’s agent Fern Cuza here in Dallas today.
While replacing John Farrell as pitching coach was a less than ideal endeavor, it worked out about as well as possible for the Red Sox, as they were able to land one of the best in the game in Curt Young.
Under Young’s tutelage, the A’s posted the best ERA in the American League last season, at 3.58. He turned down the offer to return to the A’s shortly after it became clear Farrell was leaving Boston to become the manager of the Blue Jays.
“We are lucky to be able to add an experienced pitching coach the caliber of Curt Young to the organization,” said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. “Curt has a proven track record of success in this job, mixing excellent relationship-building skills with expert knowledge of pitching and how to get hitters out at the Major League level. Pitchers who have worked with Curt swear by him, and the results speak for themselves. We think he will work well with our pitching staff and within the culture of our clubhouse.”
Here is some other relevant info, clipped from the press released issued by the Red Sox:
“The 50-year-old Young has spent the last seven seasons as the Oakland Athletics pitching coach from 2004-10. Under his guidance, Oakland pitchers have posted an American League best 4.03 ERA (4,535 ER/10,135.1 IP) and held opponents to an AL low .257 batting average (9,939-for-38,616) while allowing the fewest home runs in the circuit (1,062). A’s hurlers led the American League with a 3.56 ERA (566 ER/1,431.2 IP) in 2010 and topped the league with 17 shutouts. The staff also allowed the fewest hits (1,315), runs (626) and earned runs (566) in the AL this season and faced the fewest batters (6,011) in the Majors. Additionally, Oakland starters posted a Major League best 3.47 ERA (383 ER/992.0 IP), the lowest such mark in the AL since 1990.
Young began his coaching career in Oakland’s minor league system in 2000, serving as pitching coach for Double-A Midland. His Midland staff compiled a 4.64 ERA that season, which was the lowest figure posted by the club in 15 years. In 2001, Midland pitchers bettered the previous year’s figure by 24 points, finishing with a 4.40 ERA, and in 2002 the RockHounds finished with a 3.88 ERA. Young was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento for the 2003 season and the River Cats posted the fourth best ERA in the Pacific Coast League at 3.90 en route to the PCL Championship.
Originally drafted by the A’s in the fourth round of the 1981 June draft out of Central Michigan University, Young pitched parts of 11 Major League seasons with Oakland (1983-91, 1993), Kansas City (1992) and the New York Yankees (1992). The left-hander compiled a 69-53 record and a 4.31 ERA (530 ER/1,107.0 IP) in 251 appearances (162 starts) and was a member of the A’s starting rotation when they won three consecutive American League pennants from 1988-90.”
It was interesting that the Red Sox sent Manny Delcarmen to the Minor League complex for two innings on Monday so he could work on physical and mental aspects of his game. The righty is an important piece to Boston’s bullpen when he is going well, but he struggled mightily in the second of last season.
Delcarmen is a perfect example of how Spring Training statistics mean almost nothing to the way the club evaluates a player. In Delcarmen’s case, he has a 1.35 ERA in eight games, but the club has noticed him laboring.
Monday’s exercise seemed to do Delcarmen some good. But he is still a bit of a wrok in progress.
“He was better,” said Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. “I thought there was better consistency to the command, and the location of the fastball was not down in the zone as much as we’d like to see. That’s more fundamental or delivery-related. There was more of a willingness and an intensity to his two innings of work here and the whole idea today was to allow him to go through 35 to 40 pitches of work, granted, the atmosphere and the intensity is not what we’re going to see of him or what he’s going to be involved with.”
Delcarmen was pitching through shoulder pain duiring his second half struggles, and might have lost some of his swagger. Farrell is trying to get Delcarmen to pitch with more confidence.
The righty will pitch his final Grapefruit League game on Thursday against the Twins.
“Talking to Farrell, he wants me to go out there and get that
attitude like, ‘you’re going out there and nobody can touch you.’ I took
that approach a little bit today, just threw some pitches inside and
like I said, I felt great,” Delcarmen said. “Hopefully this carries on to the next time I
throw and I’ll just keep going and attacking. John said, ‘I want you to get that fiery attitude back that you used to have.”‘
Delcarmen is one of Boston’s more versatile relievers in this sense: He can go multi-innings in the middle of a game or he can pitch later in the game for a batter or an inning. He can also get lefties out. If anything, Delcarmen said, he needs to get back to the point where he is dominating righties. Lefties hit .221 against Delcarmen last year. Righties hit .322.
“I’ve heard Tito say it a bunch this spring. I know from my numbers
last year, I felt like I couldn’t get a righty out for my life toward
the end,” Delcarmen said. “I kept getting lefties out. He said, ‘Manny has that ability
to get lefties out and when he’s on top, downhill, he can get righties
out.’ I see that as a plus, just stay healthy and whenever he needs me,
be ready to go. I definitely want to attack righties more.”
There are also some delivery adjustments that should help Delcarmen.
“hen he separates his hands, when he’s on time in his delivery, he’s going to leverage the ball downhill with some giddy-up on it, with some life through the zone,” Delcarmen said. “I think he understands it better. You could see it today. he was trying to get it out there and get it done. When he does it, it’s good. I think it’s still a little bit sporadic. He threw some good changeups today. I think the two innings helps. He’ll go two innings again Thursday, which I think will help.”
For just a moment on Friday afternoon, Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell became father John Farrell.
In a classy gesture by the Pirates, they brought Minor League infield prospect Jeremy Farrell on board as a Minor League extra for Friday’s game against the Red Sox.
So with John Farrell watching intently from the dugout in the bottom of the seventh, Jeremy belted a single up the middle against Red Sox righty Jorge Sosa.
Though Farrell was fairly modest in his comments to reporters after, you can bet he was beaming with pride. So, too, was Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
“Was that great? I hate to root against our guys but that was pretty cool,” Francona said. “That was fun to watch.”
John Farrell’s take?
“You don’t get to see him very often but to see him in this setting is pretty special and we appreciate the Pirates for bringing him over for half a game,” Farrell said. “You like to see the aggressiveness about him. He looks to be in great shape. I know he loves what he’s doing. We’ll see where it takes him.”
As for Farrell’s job as pitching coach, the Red Sox have some juggling to do over the next couple of days. The club has split squad contests on both Sunday and Monday. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield draws Saturday’s home start vs. the Orioles. On Sunday, Jon Lester takes the ball at home against the Astros, while Felix Doubront pitches at Dunedin against the Jays.
Monday, Boof Bonser pitches at home against the Rays, with Michael Bowden drawing the Jupiter assignment against the Cardinals. John Lackey will also pitch Monday, in a Minor League game. Obvioulsy the Sox gain more from monitoring Bonser, a bubble candidate to make the team, up close, than Lackey, who has breezed through the spring.
“A guy like Bonser, we want him to pitch in an A game,” Francona said. “You’ll see some guys pitch over at the complex. We do that every year. Lackey is to the point where he’ll go get his work in and he’ll be in good shape and we can watch the other guys pitch.”
As for Friday’s game, David Ortiz and Jeremy Hermida both belted longballs, but they had some help from a friendly wind gusting out to right.
“David, real good swing,” Francona said. “Like you were kind of alluding to, though, today’s a day where if you elevate it, it’s going to leave the ballpark. If he got the barrel to it, it went out. It’s a difficult day to judge your pitching. [Junichi Tazawa] gets one and looks like it’s a lineout or a double and it’s a homer. That happens. But it also kind of re-affirms, throw strikes, keep the ball down.”
Meanwhile, Bill Hall took a solid step forward in his quest to show the Sox he can be a backup shortstop, among the other roles he will fill. Hall made all the plays and looked smooth in completing a double play.
“I thought he had a good day,” Francona said. “I thought he had a real good day. I thought he moved his feet. That was good to see. I thought he did a good job.”
Daisuke Matsuzaka has returned to Fort Myers today after witnessing the birth of his third child — a daughter — in Boston last night. Matsuzaka will pitch in a Minor League game on either Sunday or Monday.
Jacoby Ellsbury, ill the last few days, will return to the lineup for Saturday’s home game.
Utilityman Gil Velazquez, likely ticketed for Pawtucket anyway, has a chipped bone in his left thumb and won’t play for several weeks. Add that to the fact that Jed Lowrie has mono, and Francona is finding himself light on backup shortstops. Bill Hall is getting the start there today in Bradenton, as Tito and the staff want to see if he is still capable of playing that position well enough to warrant regular-season action there.
Mike Lowell is not in Bradenton, but he was at the Minor League complex in Fort Myers, getting some at-bats. He went 2-for-4 with a homer, a walk and three RBIs. Lowell will make his first Grapefruit League start at the hot corner on Sunday, but not sure yet if he’s at home or with the split squad in Dunedin. I’m guessing it will be in the home game.
One player to continue to keep an eye on is Junichi Tazawa, who has great versatility.
“Very interesting,” Francona said. “He can do different things. he can relieve, he can start, he holds runners. He’s another guy who has come a long way in a year. last year, looking at him, all the history there of coming out of the industrial league. Now he’s a guy that should not only be in a fight maybe to make our team ,but someone we really think highly of. He can be useful as a reliever. He throws strikes, he holds runners. You don’t want to write off a guy being a starter. Depending on what our needs are, he could always be a reliever. Having guys that have the ability to throw maybe 180-200 innings is pretty important.”
Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell gets to see his son Jeremy play up close today. Jeremy Farrell is a Minor Leaguer with the Pirates, and the Bucs summoned young Jeremy as an extra for today’s game. Classy move.