Price, Kimbrel give Red Sox fans hope
FORT MYERS, FLA. >> Red Sox manager John Farrell said Thursday he recognizes his team hasn't met expectations the past two years.
The team knows that getting off to a good start would go a long way this season, Farrell said as pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.
After bringing in left-handed starter David Price for seven years and $217 million to be their ace and Craig Kimbrel to close in a trade with the Padres, expectations are high for the Red Sox to rebound from two straight last-place finishes in the American League East.
But the expectations and past results don't change the approach, said Farrell, who is entering his fourth season managing the team. He led Boston to a World Series title his first season.
"It doesn't change the intensity or the thoroughness that you go about each and every day," he said. "We just want to put every guy in a position to succeed and that should allow us as a team to hopefully get off to a good start."
Farrell is back and healthy now after leaving the team in August because of a cancer diagnosis. He was given a clean bill of health 10 weeks later.
"It causes you to slow down a little bit and maybe see some of the smaller things in life a little bit more clear," he said. "Your awareness to your surroundings becomes heightened. You appreciate every day more than you have. It goes back to the relationships you have with people and the fortunate ability to be involved in a great game with a great organization."
Farrell left behind a record of 78-84, and bench coach Torey Lovullo led Boston to a 28-20 record the rest of the way in his only stint managing a big-league club. To keep Lovullo from seeking other managing possibilities, the Red Sox gave him a two-year extension on the final day of the season.
"I think his choice by staying here represents a number of things: one, this is a special place to work; two, Dave (Dombrowski, president of baseball operations) and the organization stepped up to keep him here," Farrell said. "Torey and I have had a number of candid conversations. I think our players understand and know the relationship that Torey and I have."
This is Farrell's first season under Dombrowski, who joined the Red Sox on Aug. 18. Farrell is still getting to know his new boss.
"That's happening naturally," Farrell said. "There are so many topics that need discussion, whether it's from our roster to our schedule to the game situations that will unfold. And I'm sure as we get into the game schedule in spring training and then certainly beyond there's going to be those daily postgame conversations that typically take place. That will happen in time."
NOTES: All Red Sox pitchers and catchers have reported except right-hander Joe Kelly, the leading candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, whose wife recently gave birth and is expected early next week... Hanley Ramirez, who is expected to play first base for the first time in his 12-season career, took some groundballs on one of the back fields. ... Third baseman Pablo Sandoval will return to switch-hitting after abandoning it last season. ... All the pitchers are healthy except for right-hander Brandon Workman, who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and is not expected to appear in a game this spring. ... Left-hander Tommy Layne and knuckleballer Steven Wright are leading candidates for the bullpen.
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