|John Farrell Thursday: ‘On time and professional’ team rules, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia options||02.14.13 at 5:24 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — When John Farrell formally meets with his team for the first time on Friday, he won’t spend a lot of time going over rules.
Why? Because as he explained Thursday, he won’t have many.
“No, I don’t,” Farrell said when asked if he has a long list of rules and guidelines for his team to follow. “I’ll be quite frank – be on time and be professional. Being professional encompasses a number of things, that’s how you play the game, that’s how you treat the people around it, that’s how you treat the guy dressing next to you. This game will always be about the players and yet, we have to provide the boundaries in which we’re going to operate.”
If that sounds a lot like Terry Francona, circa 2004-11, there’s good reason. Farrell, of course, was his pitching coach for several seasons, including a very successful run from 2007-10.
“I think you take parts of the people or managers you played for, those you’ve been around, those you respect and see along the way how players respond to that. The players are first and foremost in this, with obvious and very clear direction.
“Just setting out my expectations and our expectations as a staff. Obviously, some basic rules that will be discussed and expectations of spring training. I think the more they can understand what we’re looking for, it takes away some of that initial wondering, and as I’ve mentioned many times over, I think we as a team need to recognize that we have one heck of an opportunity in front of us.”
“I think when you communicate what you expect, then we can all be held accountable in our way. That’s not to say or be authoritative or being a dictator, that’s just saying what we’re about and what we hope to get accomplished in spring training. Once that’s established, I think that’s the vision that we’re all collectively moving toward.”
On Shane Victorino playing right field: “He’s played right field some in the past so it’s a combination of both, him getting re-acclimated to the position but more importantly, it’s getting to know his teammate. Range and communication are the two areas we’re focused on. Just by virtue of the roster, there’s been a lot of change, a lot of turnover. And that’s where this spring training becomes critical for us, to begin to form our identity as a team. That’s not going to be fully established by the time opening day hits but it’ll be the foundation and ground work to move in that direction.”
On the “fresh and positive” attitude of his team this spring: “Every guy that comes in here, talking with them individually, sure they’re going to be upbeat and positive coming into this setting. It’s a great opportunity for all of us coming into this setting. It’s a great opportunity for all of us to be in this uniform. They’re eager to get on the field.”
On John Lackey and his new attitude: “That was evident in the offseason. Getting down here, there’s another step towards that. The fact that he’s in regular turns in the bullpen and not feeling anything, physically. It’s almost a fresh start for him from a physical standpoint. But I think when you at the way he’s committed, restructured his body, it speaks in confidence when you talk with him one-on-one. We’re going to need him, I know that.
“We also recognize that the first year back from Tommy John, he’s going to go through some peaks and valleys, arm-strength wise, but in my view I think it’s going to affect him less because of the way he throws the ball on such a downhill plane as opposed to a drop-and-drive pitcher who might rely on velocity a little bit more consistently. He’s in a good place right now.”
On Jacoby Ellsbury: “A healthy Jacoby Ellsbury is a darn good player, one that two years ago that set the tone for this team with production, was almost middle-of-the-order production, but yet top-of-the-order and can steal a base. As the top of the order goes, so goes your team. To have him back healthy, we’ve all seen what he’s capable of. So, he looks great. The way he talks about the way he feels, and all those issues, whether it’s ribcage or shoulder, that’s a thing of the past right now.”
Will Ellsbury’s contract year affect him on the field? “Hopefully in a good way. I don’t think that becomes a distraction. He’s a motivated player. We’re not going to changes based on him being a pending free agent. I know he’s focused on his daily work, getting back on the field and demonstrating what he can do.”
On whether Ellsbury will definitely be his leadoff hitter: “I wouldn’t pencil it in or be locked into him just being in the leadoff spot but right now, that’s the intent going in.”
On how he plans to handle the No. 3 spot in the batting order with David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia as options: “Right now, if I were going to sketch something out, it would be David against right-handers and it might be Pedroia against left-handers, that way it puts Victorino in the 2-hole against some left-handed pitching to take advantage of his splits. The guy that obviously has a lot of production against left-handers is Gomes as well. There’s some thought and variations to it, but that’s initially one of them.”
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