Farrell's coaching search continues; Bogar appears out

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Farrell's coaching search continues; Bogar appears out

BOSTON -- The Red Sox are scrambling to assemble a coaching staff in the wake of John Farrell's hiring earlier this week.

The Sox are some six weeks ahead of last season, when Bobby Valentine was hired in early December, but, still, time is of the essence, since the Sox are competing with other teams for the field of available coaches.

At least one other club (the Cleveland Indians) is also putting together a staff, and three other teams (Toronto, Miami and Colorado) are still looking for managers. Soon, they'll be hiring coaches, too.

Obviously, the faster the Sox move, the better position they'll be in.

The Sox have already tabbed -- but not announced -- Torey Lovullo as Farrell's bench coach. Lovullo managed Pawtucket in 2010, interviewed for the Sox' managerial opening last fall and served as Farrell's first-base coach in Toronto the last two seasons.

A number of other coaches from the Toronto staff, each free to seek jobs elsewhere, are also candidates for the Red Sox staff.

Brian Butterfield could be a candidate to be Farrell's third-base coach, though he may be interviewed for Toronto's managerial vacancy.

Two other Blue Jays coaches -- pitching coach Bruce Walton and bullpen coach Pete Walker - are also thought be under consideration as Farrell's pitching coach in Boston.

Rick Peterson, who has served as a major-league pitching coach for Oakland, the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers, remains something of a longshot candidate.

Peterson, who has some unorthodox views on pitching and has partnered with Dr. James Andrews to study the biochanics of pitching. He served last year as the Baltimore Orioles' minor-league pitching coordinator.

Former Red Sox bullpen coach Gary Tuck had hoped to return to Farrell's staff as bench coach, but that position will go to Lovullo. It's unknown whether Tuck would accept an offer to return as bullpen coach, or whether he could be a candidate for the pitching coach position.

There's a good chance that Alex Ochoa, who served as first-base coach and outfield instructor, could return to the same position under Farrell.

Tim Bogar, who has worked as both first- and third-base coach and last year served as bench coach, does not appear to be a candidate to return.

Bogar is regarded favorably by both Farrell and GM Ben Cherington, but, according to a source, a person in upper management remains unhappy that Bogar didn't work better with former manager Bobby Valentine.

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

Does uncertainty for Carson Smith mean Red Sox need bullpen help?

BOSTON — Tyler Thornburg’s gone for the season and there’s really no telling when the other set-up man the Sox expected to help in 2017, Carson Smith, will be back.

The Sox have already made inroads, if minor ones, in bolstering their third-base situation and rotation. Smith’s situation leaves a question of whether the Sox will need to pursue help in the bullpen as well.

There's not an easy answer to settle on at this point.

For one, the timetable with the right-hander Smith — whose shoulder has bothered him on the way back from Tommy John surgery — isn’t clear.

“He's in a no-throw [time] through the weekend,” Sox manager John Farrell said Friday afternoon at Fenway Park. “He'll be reevaluated on Monday to hopefully initiate a throwing program. He's responding favorably to the treatment. He continues to rehab as he's been. We have not closed the book in a sense on anything Carson can contribute this year.”

What does this year mean, though? Will they be able to know by July, by the trade deadline?

“Still too early to tell,” Farrell said. “We thought he was days from starting his rehab assignment after his last live BP session in New York [on June 6]. Unfortunately, that was put on hold for the time being. To get into any kind of timeframes, timetables, I don't know that any of us can predict that right now.”

The Sox relievers have done extraordinarily well without either Thornburg or Smith. Can that continue without reinforcements? The bullpen’s ERA entering Friday was 2.94, the second best mark in the majors. Its innings total, 217, was the second. lowest in the majors. 

So it’s not like the entire group is about to collapse from fatigue. But a guy like Joe Kelly, for example, isn’t someone the Sox want to use back to back.

It’s a young group and ultimately an inexperienced group. But Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has already fallen into the trap of trading for premium set-up men twice, and that’s a dangerous road to pursue again. Perhaps a smaller trade makes more sense.

“Well, at this point, we’re open minded to help,” Dombrowski said when asked if he was targeting either third-base or relief help. “I’m not going to get into specifics at this time on what else we’re looking for. Keep an open mind on a lot of ways on which we can improve. We have guys coming back and both the spots, I think Carson Smith is very important to us and our bullpen has pitched great. The other day, we struggled but that was one of the few times we really struggled all year. 

“I think Carson still has a chance to come back and help us this year.”

 

Pedroia returns

Dustin Pedroia (ribcage) was out of the initial Red Sox lineup on Friday but was later added. Farrell said in the afternoon that Pedroia would be available by emergency Fridayand expected to be back in the lineup Saturday, but clearly, something changed.

Red Sox claim right-hander Doug Fister off waivers

Red Sox claim right-hander Doug Fister off waivers

Right-handed starter Doug Fister, who opted out of his contract with the Angels, has been claimed off waivers by the Red Sox, CSN Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich has confirmed.

The news was first reported by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation, who writes that Fister, 33, will join the Red Sox immediately.

Fister opted out of with the Angels after three Triple-A starts in Salt Lake City, where he allowed seven runs on 16 hits with five walks and 10 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings. 

With Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson on the DL, the Red Sox need immediate starting pitching help. Triple-A Pawtucket call-up Hector Velazquez made a spot start earlier this week in the fifth spot behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, David Price and Drew Pomeranz. 

Fister will receive $1.75 million in the majors from the Red Sox, with $1.2 million available in additional incentives, according to Cotillo. 

Fister has pitched eight seasons in the majors, including 2016 with the Astros, going 12-13 with 4.64 ERA in 180 1/3 innings. His best season was 2014 with the Nationals (16-6, 2.41 ERA).