Sox meet with Sveum to discuss managerial position

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Sox meet with Sveum to discuss managerial position

BOSTON The Red Sox continued their managerial search Wednesday, bringing in Dale Sveum to interview. Sveum just completed his sixth season on the Brewers' coaching staff, and third as hitting coach. He was the Sox third-base coach in 2004-2005.

Sveum, who turns 48 on Nov. 23, served as the Brewers interim manager in 2008, replacing Ned Yost who was fired on Sept. 15 that year. Sveum went 7-5, taking the Brewers into the postseason, where they lost the NLDS in four games to the Phillies, who went on to win the World Series.

Hes a passionate baseball guy and we knew that from when he was here, Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. In setting up these interviews and doing background, you're asking questions of all sorts of people that have been around, whether its Dale or any of the candidates, and theres a constant message back from people -- whether it be players or coaches that hes been around, managers that he's played for, worked for -- that he just has a true passion for the game and true baseball intellect and just a lot of substance to his baseball thought process and how he goes about teaching the game, making decisions during the game."

Sveum was a first-round pick (25th overall) in 1982 of the Brewers, making his Major League debut in 1986. An infielder, he played 12 seasons with the Brewers, Pirates, Phillies, As,Yankees, Mariners and White Sox. He set career highs in 1987 with 25 home runs and 95 RBI. A non-roster invitee to spring training in 2000 with the Pirates, he was released prior to the start of the season and offered a coaching and administrative position with the Pittsburgh organization.

He began his managerial career in 2001 and led the organizations Double-A Altoona Curve for three seasons before taking over at third base for the Sox in 2004. Sveum was named by Baseball America as the Eastern Leagues best managerial prospect in 2003 while guiding the Pirates Altoona Curve to a 78-63 record.

Hes familiar with the city, familiar with some people in the organization and hes had a little bit of managerial experience in the big leagues, albeit brief," said Cherington. "Hes managed in the minor leagues, so he had a lot of the qualities that we were looking for in an interview candidate and then today was a chance to get to know him better and it went well.

"We talked a lot of baseball for eight or nine hours and watched some baseball. Some of the games we were watching were ones that I dont really want to replay, but its a good chance to sort of watch a game with someone who wasnt there and see how theyd be thinking about things.

Sveum worked under former Sox manager Terry Francona, with whom he was close, but he has not talked to Francona about the Sox job. His biggest challenge, Sveum said, would be setting the tone for the team.

The biggest challenge is always from the get-go of any managers standpoint coming into a new place is always getting the players to respect you, Sveum said. I think thats the biggest obstacle you have, is getting the players to respect you right away, from the way you handle spring training. For the most part, players are going to second guess managers in game situations. Its just the way it goes. And you try to, if you gain their respect right away and theyre second guessing but at the same time theyre asking you the question. And thats what I want as a manager.

Although it was just 16 games three years ago, Sveum believes his experience as the Brewers interim manager is helpful.

We were tied for the wild card going down the stretch, so basically every night was a playoff game. We eked it out the last day of the season, he said. It was like I was right at home. It was where I was supposed to be. So you neverknow until you get thrown into that fire and you have to do it.

His experience in 08 as interim manager is relevant in the sense that it is the only major-league managerial experience hes had, Cherington said. And so we talked a lot about that. I think the circumstances are entirely different. I think the clubhouses are different, the players are different, the reasons for their struggles up until that time are different than ours in September so Im not sure that that alone helps him in any way.

"But his experience helps him because he was asked to do something that was unexpected and sort of thrown into the fire and dealt with it very well from what I can see.

But Sveum was not given the full-time job. It went to Ken Macha the following season.

Mainly from what I understand, it was because I had no big-league managerial experience, said Sveum. At that time they wanted an experienced manager that had done it before. So thats basically the reasons I got. At that time I had no managerial experience besides those 12 games and four games in the playoffs.

Sveum listed several managers that have been influential, including Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, Jim Leyland, Gene Lamont, and Tom Treblehorn.

I played for and worked with some great managers, got to learn a lot from them in different ways, he said. But my personality, with the knowledge of the game, Ive been, I think for the most part, I think Ive been very well respected by every player that Ive been around for the fact that Im not afraid to talk to Major League players, superstars, whatever it might be. I dont have a difficult time speaking my mind to anybody on any level.

He also followed the reports of the Sox September collapse.

All I know about how the season ended was it was an awful way to finish a season, he said. Because we always, as baseball players and coaches, when anything like that happens we all feel bad for the team because, not that weve all been in that situation, but weve all lost before and weve all lost close pennant races and it makes for a long winter. its very very difficult.

And I dont know what went on and everything. I wasnt here so I cant even comment on all that stuff. The bottom line was somebody else won and somebody lost and it was a very difficult way to end a season. And like I said before, Carl Crawfords six inches away from catching a ball and going to the playoffs and possibly none of this is happening right now, and the Red Sox possibly could have won the World Series . . . Sometimes its just inches that can change the whole history of an organization or a season.

Farrell: 'Strike-throwing is a priority' for Owens in Triple A

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Farrell: 'Strike-throwing is a priority' for Owens in Triple A

NEW YORK -- Following a six-walk effort Thursday in Chicago, Henry Owens found himself optioned back to Pawtucket Friday, removed from the Red Sox rotation after three sub-par starts.

Owens lasted just three-plus innings Thursday, and allowed two runs. In three starts since being promoted to replace Joe Kelly in the Red Sox rotation, Owens walked 13 in 12 1/3 innings while allowing 13 hits for a ghastly 2.108 WHIP and a 5.11 ERA.

"Henry needs to go back and learn to command his fastball with more consistency,'' said John Farrell. "He's got an outstanding changeup that can get him back in some counts and get him away from some damage. But the strike-throwing is a priority here.''

In addition to wildness, Owens saw his velocity dip, with his fastball topping out at 90 mph most times.

But Farrell insisted there isn't a physical issue with the lefty.

"One thing that we can for sure rule out is health,'' said Farrell. "There's no health issues at play here. I think when a pitcher's delivery is not in sync, he's not getting the most power out of it (in terms of velocity). And then, with the strike throwing, it becomes a confidence factor. I don't want to say he was tentative or it was a lack of aggressiveness, but I think when you're feeling for pitches to try to get them in the strike zone, there might be a tentativeness that takes over.''

Owens has a quality changeup that can throw off hitters' timing and get weak contact, as happened Thursday night. But that pitch is only effective when he can set it up more with his fastball.

"That creates a little more margin for error,'' said Farrell of the changeup as a weapon, "but you've got to be in the strike zone first.''

Owens seemed to regress some from last year, when he was 4-4 in 11 starts with a 4.57 ERA. He pitched into the eighth inning in three straight starts in September.

"It's the second time he's been in the big leagues with us,'' said Farrell. "When the opportunity presents, you take it and run with it. I felt last year, he pitched effectively. He pitched very good at times. There were a couple of starts where he didn't have his best stuff, but he found his way into the sixth or into the seventh inning. That was (what we were hoping for) last year. OK, he's battling but he's finding a way to get through it.

"As far as his opportunity, I'm sure he'll back to us at some point.''

Asked if the Red Sox had expected more from Owens, Farrell didn't mince words.

"Based on what he showed at this level last year, yes,'' said Farrell.

Owens was replaced on the roster by Sean O'Sullivan, who was with the club here Friday afternoon and in the bullpen, at least temporarily.

He could take Owens's spot in the rotation Tuesday.

"He's a candidates, yes,'' said Farrell.

O'Sullivan is with his fifth different organization, having pitched with the Angels, Royals, Padres and Phillies.

He signed with the Red Sox last winter as a free agent, in part attracted by the presence of pitching coordinator Brian Bannister, a one-time teammate of O'Sullivan with the Royals. Bannister has taken an innovative, analytical approach to pitching and has already helped O'Sullivan.

"When he was in (spring training) camp,'' said Farrell, "he showed more arm strength than anticipated. The strike-throwing has been above-average for him. A veteran guy who's pitched at this level for extended outings. We felt like that dependability and durability were also a factor in getting him here.''

Farrell credited an improved cutter and "more consistent location down in the strike one,'' accounting for O'Sullivan's improved results at Triple A.

O'Sullivan wasn't on the 40-man roster until Friday, when he was added. The Sox shifted third baseman Pablo Sandoval to the 60-day DL to make room.

 

Tonight's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

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Tonight's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

Rick Porcello attempts to increase his record to 6-0 as he starts tonight for the Red Sox against the Yankees in the opener of their three-game series in New York.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DB
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Christian Vazquez C
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Rick Porcello P

YANKEES
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran DH
Starlin Castro 2B
Aaron Hicks RF
Didi Gregorius SS
Ronnie Torreyes 3B
---
Michael Pineda P

 

McAdam: It's early, but there's good signs with the Red Sox

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McAdam: It's early, but there's good signs with the Red Sox

Sean McAdam talks with Toucher & Rich about the good start the Red Sox have gotten off to this season, playing well on the road and for the most part taking care of business.