A few snippets from new Sox pitching coach John Farrell's chat with the media Monday afternoon at Fenway:
On getting to know his staff:
John Farrell: "I've spoken to a good majority of the pitchers already. The viewing of film is for my own knowledge. I can read scouting reports from Cleveland prior to coming over here, but part of my responsibility will be for me to get familiar with them and to begin those initial introductions. Any basis for a working relationship has to be trust."
In dealing with younger pitchers:
JF: "Their physical attributes are going to steer them from one role or another whether that's as a starting pitcher or reliever. But the most important thing is the process which will allow them to establish themselves in the big leagues. Part of that is managing the environment fully in any big league city and certainly here in Boston. As long as they prepare consistently, mentally, physically and fundamentally--any of those three areas--and to commit to the process that they're in. I think the biggest thing is to accurately assess their performance and what adjustments are needed after that. That's where I will certainly come in and work in tandem with them."
On how some young pitchers can flourish immediately and others struggle:
JF: "There are pitchers whose physical stuff allows them to dominate initially and allows them to survive. But the biggest thing for any young pitcher - regardless of who you put into that grouping - is they have to have the ability to slow the game down. As they get into situations where they can have an in-game process to take a step back, re-center themselves or regroup in a situation where there may be some adversity, that's going to give them the ability to make adjustments in-game."
On consistency of a pitching plan:
JF: "I'm a firm believer in developing those routines so when they come to the ballpark they know what their expectations are of their workday. How they prepare for a given day, if they are a reliever or a starting pitcher. But without the routine there's probably less likely that consistency and the dependability that Tito can have for their game usage."
Is his pitching plan different than what's been in place with the Sox?
JF: "I can't speak for what's been in place here. But I can speak to again working with each pitcher on an individual basis, maximizing their strength. Certainly any given player or pitcher is going to have needs or limitations and we'll work to address those. But I think the biggest thing we can provide is dependability. That's where Terry and management can put them in the best position for success."
On dealing with veteran pitchers as opposed to youngsters:
JF: "There's going to be situations where the consistency I show to each pitcher is going to be the most important thing. In my own reflection as a pitcher in the big leagues, I wanted feedback and the consistency of the feedback and I wanted to be told the truth. I think that objectivity among pitchers and players respect that. I think that mutual respect is certainly a cornerstone in relationships that I've had."
In getting to know the personalities of pitchers before spring training:
JF: "That's what's taking place right now through phone calls, and video review. There'll be substance to our conversations mostly along the lines of what their routines are and how they like to be communicated with both in game and in between outings. Again, that's a large part of my responsibility. The intricacies of those relationships are what I'm working on."
Asked about the emphasis on power pitchers, particularly at Fenway where you don't want the ball in play that much:
JF: "Regardless of the ballpark, anytime you can get a high swing and miss rate those are always going to be attractive pitchers. If a profile were to be drawn up on a given pitcher, yeah you'd like the guy to put the ball on the ground and get a strikeout when needed. Whether that's here at Fenway or in Kansas City. There's gonna be some levels of comfort that individual pitchers will get by pitching in this ballpark. I think it's a matter of commanding your stuff, changing speeds and disrupting hitters timing which is the best recipe for success."
Must be tough in today's game where teams go through upward of 20 pitchers per year to get to know everyone?
JF: "If you are consistent in your daily approach...so regardless of whether there's been turnover on the roster, I think people are going to get to know you relatively quickly because of the consistency with which you deal with them, the up-front feedback that you provide. I think we all have our own working relationships so you can get a feel for people for whether you can trust that person or not. And I think over time, in the role I was in previously, those trusting relationship are developed pretty quick."