Farrell introduced: 'There's going to be challenges'

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Farrell introduced: 'There's going to be challenges'

BOSTON The Red Sox introduced John Farrell as the 46th manager in team history at a press conference at Fenway Park Tuesday afternoon.

Citing Farrells broad set of experiences as a manager, coach, farm director, and player, and his familiarity with the organization, Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Farrell is a unique person and the right person for this job. As we work to build the next great Red Sox team we are extremely fortunate that John will be with us to lead that team on the field."

Farrell, 50, managed the Blue Jays for the last two seasons, compiling a combined record of 154-170, with fourth place finishes in the American League East each season. He had the Sox pitching coach for four seasons before that, beginning in 2007 when the Sox won the World Series, and had been the Indians farm director for five years before that. He was a second-round pick of the Indians in 1984 out of Oklahoma State, posting a combined major league record of 36-46 with a 4.56 ERA in five seasons with the Indians, two with the Angels and one with the Tigers.

"I think Boston is, in my mind and maybe debatable across the country, this is the epicenter of the game, Farrell said. So to come in and have at least four years of experience previous, not having sat in this seat but been close to it, to see the demands of the position, the passion of this region, the energy that is in this ballpark every single night, I think to a certain extent that energy and what people expect holds our players accountable with the effort that they put out every single night."

The Sox believe it is that familiarity that should help Farrell gain the trust of the players.

It's important and yet it's something that could be very fragile, Farrell said. It's something that you earn, you develop, and you have to maintain it with a consistent approach. But I also think that if you treat people with that trust give them that respect treat them like men it will come back to you tenfold. That doesn't mean its always going to be rosy. There's going to be challenges. There'll be tough conversations to have with individual players. But I think the willingness to have those conversations, and to be candid and upfront, that's where you can earn that trust day in and day out.

While Farrell is familiar with some of the core group of players from his four years Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury andDavid Ortiz, who can become a free agent there has been a tremendous amount of turnover on the roster, and in the organization, since then.

Theres a list of to-dos, Farrell said. "With the roster as it stands today theres a group you can build around and build a very successful team, too. The fact of having a comfort level with Ben and assistant general managers Mike Hazen and Brian OHalloran and everybody in baseball ops, theres no communication barriers, theres no reluctance to give a gut feel or educated opinion on a given player, on a given combination of things that might currently exist or what were trying to achieve on a roster standpoint.

But the game also fosters change whether its through free agency, whether its through opportunity, it would be the same if I were able to assemble a coaching staff that would be able to achieve opportunity elsewhere and become managers. We would champion that. That means were getting quality people and that means were putting our players in the best environment to have success as well.

The Blue Jays had to deal with nearly as much adversity and injuries this past season as the Red Sox did. The result was a poor finish to the season. That did not diminish Cheringtons confidence that Farrell is the right person for the job.

What Im looking for in a manager is someone who can make sure that players that we have are getting everything that we need every day, taking advantage of all the resources, and ultimately that were prepared to play, Cherington said. Theres a lot that goes into that. Theres teaching that goes into that, preparation, game-planning that goes into thatall those thing. Ultimately its on me and us, the organization, to build a roster that then leads to wins.

The managers job is to get the most out of the roster thats given to him and clearly based on our performance this year we need to do a better job of building a roster so that not just John but the entire organization benefits and our fans get what they deserve. So that work is going to continue to go on. Its been going on this month. Its going to go on all offseason, its not going to stop in spring training. I believe John is the right person to make sure that once the rosters together and we hit spring training, that every players given the best opportunity possible to succeed and ultimately our team had the best opportunities.

Hitting coach Chili Davis is the perfect shoulder for Hanley Ramirez to lean on

Hitting coach Chili Davis is the perfect shoulder for Hanley Ramirez to lean on

Shoulder injuries don’t have to be damning for hitters. Look at the 469-foot home run Hanley Ramirez decimated Saturday in a 7-4 loss to the Cubs.

Yes, he’s gotten off to a slow start. Through 19 games played, he has two long balls.

But he had just one homer through the same number of games in 2016. He’s hitting .250 now. A year ago at this point, he was hitting .266.

“Last year, Hanley started slow,” hitting coach Chili Davis said prior to the Cubs series. “I watched him, work, and work, and work, and work, and you know, he didn’t abandon what he was working on. He didn’t abandon it, he stuck with it and he perfect ed it. And when he perfected it, he went off. He’s still working.

“Timing, consistency with timing, and it could be partially the shoulder bothering him.”

At least eight times in his career, Ramirez has been considered day-to-day or gone to the disabled list because of a shoulder injury. He partially dislocated his left shoulder, his lead shoulder, in 2007.

Hey, did you notice it was 83 degrees at first pitch Saturday?

“When it’s cold, and you’ve got bad joints, it affects you,” Davis said during the week. “When it warms up, it loosens up more.”

Davis knows better than most how to handle shoulder pain, how to be a successful power hitter despite it. The former switch-hitting slugger has a metal screw in his left shoulder after a 1986 surgery.

“For 13 years I played with it,” Davis said. “It was multiple dislocations. I slipped down some stairs in Riverfront Stadium. Grabbed a rail, and dislocated it. It dislocated like five times after this. It was so loose.”

Davis, now 57 years old and last a big leaguer in 1999, still has the screw in that shoulder. Today they make dissolvable ones, but didn't back then.

Believe it or not, Davis believes the surgery helped his righthanded swing. He was a switch-hitter, and batting righty, he liked to hook the ball.

“I’d get out and around,” Davis said. “And then I realized I had to use my top hand more. … It created power the other way for me. It was ridiculous how that happened. I mean, it was ridiculous. 

“Because if you really think about it, [the right] is my strong hand. I do everything with this hand, I eat, I’m a right-handed guy. … Everything right-handed was all over the field.”

Davis said hitters are always aware of their health situations. He remembers coming back from ankle surgery and the bad habits he created. The day he finally let himself act normally, he heard a pop. But it wasn’t trouble: it was merely scar tissue breaking up.

The shoulders are, of course, important. But Davis explained that a swing where the shoulders do most of the work is probably not ideal.

“People talk to connection with the backside, feel that connection. Well, that connection creates synchronicity,” Davis said. “Yeah, it creates some power, but you can try to feel connection and lose your hands, your hands get lost in the process. So they got to work perfect together. 

“But the bigger muscles, to me, were the stop muscles for me. If I was going to swing and I went to stop, that’s when I felt these things holding me back, or the connection holding me back. So just from experience alone, yeah, if the shoulders are involved in your swing, then you’ve got a long swing and your hands aren’t going to work the right way.”

There was a moonshot Saturday that suggested Ramirez’s hands are working properly, and that his shoulder pain won't mean a drop-off from last year necessarily.

“I think at times he may [be compensating],” Davis said. “He’s working on things. If he wasn't working, if he came in the cage during BP and I didn’t think that he was working on something, then I’d have a problem with that. But he’s working, and last year he worked and worked and worked until it clicked. So, I’m hoping the same thing happens this year.”

Rizzo hits one of Cubs' three home runs in 7-4 win over Red Sox

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Rizzo hits one of Cubs' three home runs in 7-4 win over Red Sox

BOSTON - Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer, and Miguel Montero and Ben Zobrist had solo shots, helping the Chicago Cubs rebound from a series-opening loss with a 7-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

Kris Bryant had two hits and scored twice for Chicago, backing a decent start by former Red Sox righty John Lackey.

Lackey (2-3) gave up four runs in six innings, snapping his string of losses in three straight starts. He was part of Boston's 2013 World Series title team.

Hanley Ramirez and Andrew Benintendi had solo homers for the Red Sox, who have the majors' fewest homers.

Steven Wright (1-3) gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Wade Davis pitched the ninth for his sixth save.