Q&A with new Red Sox manager John Farrell

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Q&A with new Red Sox manager John Farrell

BOSTON Before Thursday night's annual Boston Baseball Writers Association of America dinner, new Red Sox manager John Farrell -- who plans to be at the teams spring training complex in Fort Myers on Feb. 1 -- addressed some topics concerning the team:

On the teams offseason:
Productive in the standpoint of outing a staff together, getting familiar with guys that I've spent some time with before, getting to understand at least initially some interaction with the guys weve signed in the offseason, reconnecting with many in the organization. We just finished three full days of organizational meeting here that was almost maybe a re-centering as we go into this upcoming season. Above and beyond all, everyones eager to get on the field down in Fort Myers.

On the current roster:
Balanced, professional, successful individual track records. Guys that have come from winning, playoff teams and World Series teams and to bring those ingredients, those individuals here, were looking forward to bringing everyone together in spring training. We have a pretty good challenge ahead of us. Nine new players projected on a 25-man roster. Thats a lot to integrate, to understand that were coming together and sacrificing for one another towards a team approach and thats where I think the people above and beyond the talents that there are have that reputation.

Potential lineups:
If guys play to their abilities . . . I think everybody looks at Jacoby Ellsbury . . . as a leadoff guy with the kind of ability, not only to steal bases but to drive the ball with some consistency . . . The one variation to look at, against a left-handed pitcher we could see Shane Victorino in the 2 hole but then see him down in the 5, 6 hole against right-handers . . . But I think the one thing that stands out is with Stephen Drews addition, and now Mike Napoli, it gives us that complement, that balance, left-right all the way through the lineup.

Victorino has moved around in the past. it's something weve talked about with him and hes comfortable with it, as hes done it, so that switching back and forth in the lineup for him wouldnt be out of the norm.

Several players are already in Fort Myers, including left-handers Franklin Morales and Felix Doubront:

Like all pitchers, theyre going through their long-toss program. Theyre out to 120-150 feet, protocol, and they're right in line for spring training.

Doubront is strong. He looked in great shape. Having the benefit of seeing and being with guys a couple of years ago, and then I left to manage the Blue Jays for two years . . . and now that I'm back, I see some physical maturity having taken place with several players, as has been the case with Felix. This is someone who really started to come into his own last year and I fully expect that progression to continue.

On the addition of Pedro Martinez as a special assistant:
A lot of experience, a lot of great pitching experience. He and Jason Varitek, also a special assistant being back in our organization in roles where they can afford and give back to young players coming through the system right now and really at the big-league level to give advice. This is a unique place that when you have the ability of two guys that have had the success that they have to have them accessible to our players, its going to be an asset to all of us.

Just being around the last couple of days . . . I had an impression of him across the field (as a member of the opposition) but to be around him in these meetings and then meeting downtown with Boston Mayor Tom Menino, the life and the confidence that he has . . . are a genuine past of his personality. Thats infectious. That rubs off on people. And I think when you have that type of ability to tap into by others around him, those players will be able to pull some pieces of information or experiences that should help them.

We had a lunch today. Incredible because he spoke of a story that Mayor Menino gave him some advice his first year here: where to live, things to stay away from. And it was a really cool recount of that experience. It was almost like the father figure talking to a young, talented guy, giving advice and guidance. And his appreciation was very evident and really a pretty neat setting.

On the roster:
I think weve got a very good roster. I like our team as it stands today, and we havent even gotten to spring training yet. But not only the talent that general manager Ben Cherington and his staff have brought in, but they people that they are, and I will tell you, from Day One of being named to this position and talking to players throughout the offseason, there are many, many players that are eager to rewrite the story that took place a year ago and are looking forward to getting back on the field in Fort Myers.

On former manager Terry Franconas new book:
Ive seen some of the excerpts. Ive talked to Tito directly about it and hes given his innermost thoughts. All I can say is that hes had a tremendous amount of success here, as did everyone during those eight years . . . two world titles . . .we can only hope to continue in some fashion close to that.

What he takes from his time working with Francona:
Fortunate to stand by him four years here in Boston in a unique place. He did such a great job with balancing the demand of this position. There were a lot of different types of players that have come through his door for those eight tears and how he blended those personalities, how he kept issues in-house is a stroke of talent, a stroke of genius in some ways, to blend that and to let every player know that he had their back. They felt that, they played hard for him and as a result had a lot of success.

Quotes, notes and stars: Ramirez knows error 'can't happen'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ramirez knows error 'can't happen'

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels ofAnaheim

Quotes:

"I tried to get two (outs) before I got one. That can't happen." - Hanley Ramirez on his throwing error which cost the Red Sox the game.

"Executing pitches - that's the name of the game." - David Price on improvement he showed from his last start.

"Fourth time through the order, middle of the lineup. . . Price had done his job. In a one-run game, we felt it was best to start a clean inning with a reliever." - John Farrell after lifting David Price after eight innings and 108 pitches.

Notes:

* Reliever Brad Ziegler was charged with the loss for the second straight game.

* Each of the last seven Red Sox losses has been by one or two runs.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in 31 consecutive games.

* The Red Sox four-game losing streak is their longest of the season.

* The Sox are now 9-23 in their last 32 meetings with the Angels.

* David Price did not allow a run for the second time this season.

Stars:

1) David Price

After a stretch of shaky outings, Price did his job with eight scoreless innings, getting 14 outs on groundouts while walking just one.

2) Jered Weaver

At times, the radar gun made Weaver's pitches look like softball offerings. But mixing junk, he held the Sox to a single run over 5 1/3 innings

3) Mookie Betts

He had just one hit - single in the eighth - but his sacrifice fly in the third produced the only run of the night.

First impressions: Ziegler can't finish Price's strong start

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First impressions: Ziegler can't finish Price's strong start

First impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1) David Price pitched in the truest sense

Price wasn't necessarily overpowering with only six strikeouts in eight innings, but he succeeded in keeping the ball down in the zone, resulting in a ton of groundouts.

In eight innings, the Angels produced just two flouts to the outfield, both of them routine.

Otherwise, Price deftly mixed his changeup, slider and two-seamer to produce ground balls. His location was more precise and he induced weak contact in at-bat after at-bat.

 

2) The danger of a closer like Brad Ziegler was on display

The throwing error by Hanley Ramirez resulted in two runs scoring but Ziegler allowed three base hits to set the stage.

Ziegler doesn't get a lot of swing-and-miss with his sinker; what he gets is a lot of balls put in play. When things are going well, that results in groundouts; when they're not, it means baserunners and strange things happening.

As inconsistent as Craig Kimbrel has been in some non-save situations, he at least has the ability to record strikeouts and keep balls out of play.  That's not the case with Zieger, as the Red Sox learned the hard way in Anaheim Thursday night.

3) The Red Sox wisely took advantage of Jered Weaver on the bases

Weaver's high leg kick and reliance on off-speed pitches make for a slow delivery time to the plate. Dustin Pedroia would have easily stole second in the first but made the mistake of going into his slide too far ahead of the bag, and though initially ruled safe, was deemed out after a replay challenge.

In the sixth, Xander Bogaerts, was more successful in his stolen base. Neither steal led to a run, but the Sox did put some additional pressure on Weaver