Farrell relishes the chance to compete against Sox, Yanks

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Farrell relishes the chance to compete against Sox, Yanks

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

At the start of the interview process to select the next manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, John Farrell had two strikes against him -- he had never managed professionally and he faced some institutional bias that suggests pitching coaches don't always make the best managers.

Ultimately, however, Farrell overcame any obstacles and was introduced Monday as the 12th manager in franchise history.

"A lot of attributes stood out,'' said Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos by phone. "From the first phone interview we had, you could tell that he was very prepared, a great communicator and strong leadership qualities.''

Anthopoulos said the conventional wisdom which argued against hiring a pitching coach "crossed our minds. But in fairness, not too many have been given that opportunity.''

It may have also helped that Bud Black, who had been the pitching coach of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before being hired to manage the San Diego Padres, directed the Padres to a 90-win season and had them in playoff contention until the final day of the season.

"I wanted the best candidates, regardless of what position he played during his career,'' Anthopoulos.

As far Farrell's relative lack of managerial experience, Anthopoulos noted that a number of successul managers -- including Joe Girardi, Dusty Baker and, the man Farrell is replacing, Cito Gaston -- also lacked prior experience before being hired for their first jobs.

"More experience is something you welcome,'' said Anthopoulos, ''but there have been plenty who have succeeded without it.''

"Obviously, my background is pretty well-documented, so it wasn't a surprise,'' said Farrell after returning to the Boston area Monday night. "As the the initial conversations took place, if there were any concerns in those areas, there was a comfort area arrived at that squelched those thoughts.''

On the plus side, Farrell has thorough knowledge of the Blue Jays and the rest of the American League East, where he has coached the last four seasons.

"On the other hand, if John had been in, say, the National League West,'' added Anthopoulos, "I don't have any doubt that he still would have come in to the interview process very prepared.''

As familiar as Farrell is with the division, he was aware that the Blue Jays are the only team in the A.L. East to fail to make the postseason since the 1994 strike. Moreover, the Jays have perennial powerhouses (Yankees, Red Sox) and talented upstarts (Rays) to overcome.

But that, as it turned out, was a selling point.

"As daunting as some might see the East,'' said Farrell, "to compete against the
best for the majority of the schedule, honestly, was an attraction.''

Farrell also believes ownership (Canadian cable giant Rogers Communications owns the Jays) will provide the necessary resources to support a payroll "that will enable us to keep our own players when they reach arbitration and free agency and also add free agents.''

Anthopoulos, meanwhile, also had high praise for Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who finished second to Farrell from among more than 20 original candidates.

"I think DeMarlo is going to be outstanding manager,'' said Anthopoulos. "He's a hidden gem. I don't think people realize how good a baseball man DeMarlo is. He has a real feel for the game and the ability to communicate with players.''

Anthopolous also interviewed third-base coach Tim Bogar in the first round and saluted the Red Sox for the staff they had assembled.

"It's telling that so many candidates came from that staff,'' he said.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

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Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

Quotes, notes, and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over the Yankees.

QUOTES:

* "He gathered himself and got a little rhythm as the night went along.'' - John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "That's a rarity for Betances to leave his breaking ball up like he did. Once David saw it up, he attacked.'' - Farrell on David Ortiz's game-winning homer.

* "There's no sign of him slowing down. Tonight is a prime example of it. Key moment, big hit when we need it. There's a long resume there and it's continuing to build.'' - Farrell on Ortiz's ability to deliver in the clutch.

* "There were some mechanical adjustments that I made. I came out a little erratic, trying to do too much, maybe focusing too much. But as game went on, I kind of got into a rhythm.'' - Owens on his start.

* "I saw him throw a lot of breaking pitches to Mookie. The one they hit stayed up a little longer than usual. He's the kind of pitcher that, if you go up there looking for everything he's got, you're done.'' - Ortiz on his game-winning homer off Dellin Betances.

NOTES:

* Over his career, David Ortiz has hit 29 go-ahead homers from the eighth inning on.

* Ortiz has eight homers in his last 24 games against the Yankees.

* The win was the first this season for the Red Sox in a game in which they were tied or trailing after seven innings.

* The Red Sox have won five of their last six and seven of their last 10.

* The Yankees have been limited to three runs or fewer in their last six games.

* In 21 games, the Yankees have faced 10 lefty starters; in 22 games, the Red Sox have faced two.

* Masahiro Tanaka has issued just one walk in his last three starts.

STARS:

1) David Ortiz

With one swing of the bat, Ortiz untied a 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth with a game-winning two-run homer.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley's penchant for delivering a big hit continued as he rapped a two-run double to left in the seventh to erase a 2-0 Yankee lead.

3) Masahiro Tanaka

He shut the Red Sox for six innings before allowing three hits and two runs in the seventh.

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win: Ortiz has flair for the dramatic

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First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win: Ortiz has flair for the dramatic

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over New York Yankees...

* David Ortiz still has a flair for the dramatic.

Matched against Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, Ortiz cracked a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to snap a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning. Ortiz now has 18 RBI in 23 games -- he didn't start in four of those games - and at 40, remains the one hitter opposing teams want to face with the game on the line.

Before the homer, Ortiz was 0-for-7 against Betances, with four strikeouts.

* All things considered, Henry Owens did OK.

Owens didn't fool anybody. He couldn't command his fastball, and when the Yankees did hit it, they hit it pretty hard. He walked three and hit another. But Owens managed to limit the damage in a big way, allowing just two hits in six innings despite 10 baserunners.

Occasionally, he would get bailed out by his changeup, which seems to be the lone pitch he has that is better than average by major league standards.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to hit when it counts.

Bradley got the Red Sox offense going with a two-run, two-out double off Masahiro Tanaka, when the Sox were down to their final seven outs.

In the last week along, Bradley hit an extra-inning homer; a solo homer that represented the only run of the game; a ninth-inning triple; and Friday's big two-base hit.

That he has 10 RBI from the bottom of the order suggests he can provide some sock from that spot.

* Matt Barnes continues to make strides.

Since allowing a homer to Kevin Kiermaier on the last homestand, Barnes has allowed just one run in his last four appearances, covering 6 1/3 innings, while holding opposing hitters to a .208 batting average (5-for-24).

* The Yankees bullpen gets all the attention, but in relief of Owens, Barnes, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel faced nine hitters and retired them all.