Hazen remembers Farrell during time with Indians

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Hazen remembers Farrell during time with Indians

BOSTON Mike Hazen was an intern in the Indians scouting department when John Farrell was hired as the organizations farm director in 2001.

The way he walks into a room, said Hazen, now Red Sox assistant general manager, when asked of his first impression of Farrell. The commanding presence, his intelligence, his ability to communicate a message.

Commanded a tremendous amount of respect, intelligent, held his staff accountable, held his players accountable, developed a system, a philosophy. While it was developed there he oversaw it, took it over, and really probably sowed the seeds for that 2007 Indians team that we faced in the LCS.

All of that, along with Farrell's experience and familiarity with the Red Sox, went into his selection as the teams new manager. But Hazen didnt initially see him as a future manager. He had another job in mind for Farrell.

GM, Hazen said. But when I got over here some of the conversations that we had, knowing that he had a desire to get on the field as well, and then as a pitching coach and certainly he had a tremendous amount of talent and ability to do that as well. You could see he could probably do anything he wants in the game. Thats what makes him pretty unique in this situation.

Farrell was the Sox pitching coach for four seasons, from 2007-2010, before leaving to manage the Blue Jays for two seasons. The Sox attempted to hire him away from the Blue Jays last year, after Terry Francona was fired following the collapse of September 2011. But the Sox advances were rebuffed by the Jays. This time, though, they were not turned away.

Its gratifying to have Farrell back in the organization, Hazen said, but that was not why they got him.

Look, this is a business, said Hazen. Its not about personal gratification in any way shape or form. Johns the right man to be the manager of the Red Sox. Its great because I've known him for so long and I think thats important. Its not gratification. Its the comfort knowing that we can start right in having the conversations that we need to have, knowing that in order for this to turn around theres a lot of tough questions that need to be asked by the manager to the front office and so on down the line.

Knowing that everyone is on the same page is vital because, for the second consecutive offseason, the Sox will be attempting to turn the page on a season.

I think its important. I think more than anything else, Hazen said. I think the conversations that have to happen are taking place right away, and not the easy conversations either. The tough conversations, mining down through exactly what happened to get us where we were last year. And that may be questioning roster decisions, the current state of the roster, player performance, role of the coaching staff, all of the things from the teaching aspect of it to the contributions of the farm system or lack thereof that went into last season.

Its extremely important for us to be able to turn the page on 2012 and for John to be able to start having those conversations and those challenging conversations, I think its only going to help us.

While there has been tremendous turnover on the roster since Farrell was last in a Red Sox uniform, there is still a core group of players from his tenure -- Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and free agent David Ortiz who is discussing a return with the Red Sox. That familiarity will help Farrell launch his new role.

Im assuming the conversations that John is having with the players right now, that hes having with GM Ben Cherington and us right now take a different tone when you have that prior relationship," Hazen said. "Theres not a lot of getting to know or wondering what the other persons thinking. Look, thats not going to translate into wins but it can definitely start the process of evaluations and where were at today, which is not where we want to be.

And the Red Sox will have a lot of work to do on their roster this offseason. Hazen and Cherington will be looking to Farrell for input on those kinds of decisions.

A lot, not necessarily in the ability to pull the trigger on something but certainly in his contacts and evaluation from across the field, his makeup information, what he knows about that player, is that player one that has the ability to come play in Boston, Hazen said. Those are key components to a lot of the evaluation.

Bennett back at practice, but admits injuries hurting his play

Bennett back at practice, but admits injuries hurting his play

FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett is willing to admit it. 

"Last week was probably my worst game as a Patriot," he told reporters in the locker room on Thursday. "But, you know, you have a bad game here and there. This week, come back grinding, and get ready."

Never was it more clear than on Sunday that Bennett has been hobbled by the injuries he's dealing with. He's coped with an ankle injury since Week 5 in Cleveland that has earned him the respect of his teammates and coaches, but against the Rams it appeared to severely impact his performance. 

He saw four targets and caught two for four yards. As a blocker -- the facet of his game that stood out more than his receiving ability early this season -- he was called for two holds and had difficulty keeping his assignments in check, both in the run game and in pass protection. 

Asked if he may benefit from a week off, Bennett said he planned to continue to play.

"I never thought about that. I just keep going," he said. "I'm like the energizer bunny. I just try to find a way. Sometimes it's [expletive] when you're out there playing with different injuries. You can't do a lot of things that you want to do. You have [expletive] plays. You might have a string of bad plays in a row just because youre dealing with different things . . . 

"But throughout the game you kind of find a way to get the job done. I think that's the biggest point. It may not be pretty all the time, but try to figure some kind of way to get it done. Sometimes it's adjusting as the game goes on."

He added: "The thing about this sport is it's always something. You never go throuigh a season without having some kind of nick or tear, but there's a lot of guys playing with different things. But some guys are able to play through different injuries, and [with] some of the same injuries, you see guys around the league . . . go on IR and things like that. But it just depends on the person and their pain tolerance."

Bennett was back at practice Thursday after he wasn't spotted there on Wednesday. He may be helped by the long week leading up to Monday's game against the Ravens. It could mean an extra day of rest and recovery.

Sometimes, he said, it's difficult not to be out there.

"Sometimes. Sometimes it's like, thank God. I needed that today," he said. "It varies each week. . . I'll fight through whatever and I think that's something that my teammates and coaches know about me that I'm going to try to give them everything I got no matter what."

Tim Thomas ranked one of top 40 goalies on very weird list

Tim Thomas ranked one of top 40 goalies on very weird list

The NHL Network is terrific. Its programming is the best of any of the four major sports leagues’ channels, its talent is outstanding and it shows a lot of cool games across various leagues.  

Players mess up though. 

In the network’s recently released ranking of the 40 best goaltenders of all time, the Bruins were well-represented, but so too was insanity. We’re talking Jonathan Quick in the top 20 (No. 16!), Marc-Andre Fleury top 25 (No. 21!) and Corey Crawford top 30 (No. 26!). Those are just a few of the head-scratchers. 

Tim Thomas was one of seven Bruins on the list, coming in at No. 27. Other Bruins ranked were Bernie Parent (No. 12), Frank Brimsek (No. 23), Rogie Vachon (No. 25), Tiny Thompson (No. 28), Gerry Cheevers (No. 29), Andy Moog (No. 36). Here's the full list, per Mark Lazerus. 

Statistically, Tuukka Rask deserves a place on this list if Fleury and Crawford are going to be that high, but we’ll save the Rask arguments for literally every other second of my life. 

[OK, real quick: Rask has the highest career save percentage of all time. Quick sits No. 17 and Fleury is 32nd. This doesn’t need to be completely statistics based, but it also shouldn’t be completely how-many-Cup-teams-were-on-based. Honestly, I can’t tell what this list is based on at all. Like Cristobal Huet had a better career save percentage than Fleury has.]

Anyway, everyone else hated the list, too.