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Series chatter

Pirates may be making a pitch for Farrell

By Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / October 25, 2007

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Red Sox owner John W. Henry has heard the speculation that pitching coach John Farrell will become manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. While appreciating the high regard for Farrell around baseball, Henry hopes he remains here.

"He has meant so much to this franchise and to the success of this organization," Henry said. "He's just stepped in in his first season and really helped our pitchers achieve their goals. He's a great communicator and teacher, and losing John would be very tough for us."

Major league sources indicate Farrell, who has a strong connection with Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, will likely interview with Pittsburgh after the World Series. At that point, Farrell will have to decide whether to begin a new career after just one season as a pitching coach. There's always been a stigma associated with pitching coaches becoming managers. Many have failed, but Bud Black's recent success in San Diego might have changed front-office views.

Many in the Cleveland organization believed Farrell would become a general manager, a natural progression from his farm director duties with the Indians, but he changed course for an opportunity to be on the field. Now will he change course again?

No boos for Boone

Aaron Boone figures enough time has passed that his presence at Fenway Park won't engender vitriol from Red Sox fans. He has come here as a visiting player with the Indians and recalled, "I received a solid, healthy chorus of boos. A good, solid visitor's welcome." Boone finished off the Red Sox in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7 of the American League Championship Series in 2003 when he homered off Tim Wakefield at Yankee Stadium, sending New York to a 6-5 win and on to the World Series. It was one of Boston's worst moments.

Boone, who played third base for the Florida Marlins this season and is now a free agent, was at Fenway yesterday working for CBS Sportsline and recalling his greatest moment.

"They wound up winning the [ALCS and World Series in 2004], so it's water under the bridge," Boone said. "It's always fun to come here. [CBS] gave me the opportunity to work the World Series. Get to be in Boston and Denver - not bad."

Asked whether Sox fans get on him when he comes to Boston, Boone said, "I don't know. I haven't been 'jumped' so far. I got in late last night. I took a cab over here and walked down Yawkey Way and kind of turned to the side. I didn't want to find out. If they had never won here, it would probably be worse for me, but they won. That's all in the past."

Boone said he enjoyed playing in Florida and wouldn't mind returning, but will assess his options and make a decision in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, Boone said his brother Brett's family was evacuated from their home in San Diego because of the wildfires.

Dodgers after Torre?

There's a lot of talk here about what the Dodgers might do as they move forward. Word is Joe Torre might be of interest to owner Frank McCourt, a Boston native. McCourt has supported his team of GM Ned Colletti and manager Grady Little, but may be tempted to go after Torre, who probably won't be on the market for long . . . Tony Pena was the third candidate interviewed by the Yankees to replace Torre, and all indications are that the former Sox catcher will join Joe Girardi and Don Mattingly as a finalist. Mattingly remains the overwhelming favorite. If he gets the job, it's expected that Pena, the first base coach, could wind up as his bench coach. If it's Girardi, one thing to keep in mind is that Sox bullpen coach Gary Tuck was his bench coach with the Marlins in '06 . . . The Cardinals' announcement that Tony La Russa will return as manager will surely impact the hiring of a successor to GM Walt Jocketty. The Cardinals would love to hire Indians vice president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, but he has turned down jobs before because the situation wasn't to his liking. With La Russa in place, would he want to get into a situation in which the manager might have more power than the GM? . . . Jeremy Papelbon, a lefthander for the Chicago Cubs' Single A Peoria farm team and brother of Jonathan, got a big kick out of the Sox closer's "Riverdance" performance after the team clinched the ALCS Sunday. "I saw it on TV for the first time yesterday. Pretty funny," said Jeremy. "He's been doing that stuff since high school. He loves that stuff. He's always been funny like that. I just think he's having such a good time that he's just letting his emotions out. It's fun. Our family is happy he's having such a good time." Jeremy and Josh, a righthanded reliever in Boston's system, are twins, and they will attend the games in Denver. Their father, John, is an official with the Ted Williams Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Old home week

Lots of former Sox were around. Bronson Arroyo, Dwight Evans, Kevin Kennedy, and John Marzano were doing interviews and/or working for the media. Holliston's Mark Sweeney, who was traded from San Francisco to the Dodgers late in the year, was also on hand . . . Evans, a former hitting coach for the Rockies, said they have traditionally enjoyed a great advantage in the Mile High air, but that was before the introduction of humidors to store baseballs, which he said has reduced Colorado's hitting edge . . . Also seen was former Sox pitching coach Al Nipper, who is still scouting pitchers for Theo Epstein . . . Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame announced the inception of the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of the former Negro League player and longtime scout and ambassador of the game. O'Neil will be honored posthumously with the first award. Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark, Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, commissioner Bud Selig, and Hall of Fame president Dale Petriskey made the announcement. The award will be given at least every three years. O'Neil was somehow left off the list of the 17 Negro Leaguers who were voted into Cooperstown by a special committee last year. The Hall has commissioned William Behrends to sculpt a statue of O'Neil . . . The World Series used to be a place where GMs began their offseason trade talks. Not so much anymore, especially with the GM meetings starting Nov. 5 in Orlando, Fla. One GM who is in town is the Mets' Omar Minaya . . . Todd Helton did not hit a home run in two seasons in the Cape Cod League, but did win a home run derby at the Cape Cod All-Star Game, beating Mike Glavine (Tom's brother).

Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com.

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