Next pitch after Wedge?
Farrell is seen as Indians candidate
After the Indians fired manager Eric Wedge yesterday, speculation centered on Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell as a prime candidate to replace him because of his strong ties to the Cleveland organization and his high standing in the game.
Wedge, who led the Indians to one playoff appearance in seven seasons, will finish out the year, but he and his entire coaching staff have been told they will not be back in 2010.
Farrell’s contract contains a clause that prohibits him from managing until 2011. The language can be worked around, though. The Sox could allow Farrell to speak with the Indians, and would then receive compensation from the Indians if Farrell was offered the job and decided to leave.
“All it does is create a compensation opportunity for the Red Sox,’’ said a league official.
Sox general manager Theo Epstein said he had not yet been contacted by the Indians regarding Farrell. Before last night’s game against the Blue Jays, Farrell declined to comment.
Farrell lives in Cleveland in the offseason, served as the Indians’ director of player development from 2001-06, and pitched for the Indians from 1987-90 and 1995. With the Indians coming into Fenway Park today for a four-game series, the attention on Farrell will likely intensify.
Farrell has shown loyalty to the Sox since he arrived as pitching coach in 2007. Both the Seattle Mariners and the Pittsburgh Pirates wanted to interview Farrell for vacant managerial positions last offseason, and Farrell declined both overtures.
The Red Sox value Farrell not only for his handling of the major league staff, but also for insights into other areas of the organization. Epstein applauded how Farrell worked this season while several pitchers - notably John Smoltz, Brad Penny, Clay Buchholz, and Daisuke Matsuzaka - came and went.
“It’s been a year with challenges, almost like any other year,’’ Epstein said. “But with the pitching staff, some things we thought would go well didn’t. We had to fight our way through. No one is better than John at confronting a problem head-on.’’
Lester is still on target to start tonight, taking his regular turn after it seemed that would be impossible last Friday in New York.
A line drive drilled Lester off the inside of the leg, inches above the kneecap, instead hitting his quadriceps, which Epstein called “a huge break.’’
Lester has not seen a replay of the line drive, perhaps the most frightening moment of the Red Sox season.
“I really don’t want to watch it,’’ he said.
Nick Cafardo of the Globe staff contributed to this report.