NASHVILLE, Tenn — Red Sox manager John Farrell fielded 10 questions from Toronto-based reporters during his scheduled interview session.
Farrell had to again defend his decision to leave the Blue Jays with a year left on his contract to join the Sox. Suffice it to say, Farrell is in for an angry reception when the Sox play in Toronto next season.
“Looking forward to it,” he said with a smile.
There was time to sneak in a few questions about the Red Sox:
On Mike Napoli: “We see him as a first baseman primarily, but with the ability to catch and to acclimate him to our pitchers in spring training. One of the things we would do, provided all this goes through, is that we would have him catch in spring training early on, but then certainly make sure that we’ve got enough reps at first base for not only him to feel comfortable there, but for us as well.”
On some injured players: Will Middlebrooks, he said, has no lingering effects from his broken right wrist while John Lackey will not be restricted in spring training after recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery. “Spring training is going to tell us a lot about where John’s at, and we fully expect him to be ready to go,” said Farrell.
David Ortiz is coming along with his strained right Achilles tendon. “Everything has progressed on schedule. I think he’s due to come back to Boston sometime middle of this month to get another re-check,” Farrell said. “The overall prognosis of his rehab is to be ready for spring training.”
On Daniel Bard: “The separation of mental and fundamental is a great debate, what’s going to come first. I think it’s first and foremost that we get him in a position to command the baseball a little bit more regularly. Just in reviewing some video from last year versus a couple of years previous, there’s some noticeable changes there just from a physical side.”
Farrell believes Bard changed his mindset when he became a starter and that affected the quality and velocity of his pitchers because he was too focused on going deeper into games.
“I think he tried to ‘pitch’ rather than be dominant with his stuff. So those are the angles that I would want, and I would both look to take with him and get him back to a more simplified, more power type of approach,” Farrell said.
On Alfredo Aceves: “Personally, I see him as a very dominant reliever late in the game. Whether we sit here today and fully define what that role is. I don’t know if we’re here to do that,” Farrell said. “There’s a lot of discussion internally that he could still provide a depth starter for us or possibly a fifth starter. The one thing we have is a talented pitcher that can do some things physically that not many can do.”