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BOSTON (CBS) – John Farrell has a great idea of what the Boston Red Sox’ pitching staff could be in 2013, and now he’s tasked with the job to see that vision through.
Farrell joined Dave Goucher and Dan Roche on the 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday, and offered plenty of his thoughts on the upcoming season.
“It’s been an exciting time; a chance to reconnect with some of the guys I knew when I was pitching coach,” Farrell said of the Red Sox’ off-season so far. “I think Ben (Cherington) has done a heck of a job with the additions he made. In talking with the players and going to visit some, everyone is excited for the first week in February when we get together in Fort Myers.”
Farrell has placed an importance on having defined roles when the team enters camp in a few months, which was on display Wednesday when he named the newly-acquired Joel Hanrahan Boston’s closer. That move bumps Andrew Bailey to the set-up role, and in their manager’s eyes, gives Boston a very strong bullpen at the end of games.
“We are confident Andrew Bailey will re-gain the form he was in Oakland, and that will give us two strikeout guys at the end of the game to shorten games down a little more,” said Farrell, adding Bailey took the news as a pro. “What Ben has talked about throughout the off-season, we looked for ways to improve the team. We didn’t go in looking for a closer, but this deal presented itself and gave us a chance to upgrade late in the game and we made it. Andrew is very understanding and ready to get after it in spring training to contribute late in games, which he’s going to.”
Another bullpen arm Farrell has big plans for this Spring is Daniel Bard, who Boston will try to turn back into a dominant reliever after a failed year as a starter.
“Bard is one we feel that the work we can do prior to training to set up a productive camp for him, to get him back to levels he was previous,” said Farrell. “When you look at the addition of Hanrahan, and then Bard getting back to his previous levels as a reliever, along with (Koji) Uehara, our bullpen has a chance to be a very strong, deep and talented group.”
But while the Red Sox bullpen expects to be better and possibly among the best, Boston’s success in 2013 will depend greatly on how their starting rotation bounces back from a rough 2012.
“No doubt,” agreed Farrell. “Talking with guys individually, they’re understanding of that and are accepting the responsibility. The one thing I always go back to is they finish the year healthy, they finish the year with talent, and those are the ingredients for those guys to be successful pitchers again; consistent to what they’ve shown for a number of years already.”
“We know the strength of our rotation is a cornerstone to get us deep in the season, but we feel like the ingredients are here to do just that.”