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John Farrell on Salk & Holley: Sox ‘hope to provide some small vehicle to … some normalcy’

04.17.13 at 3:20 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell, in his weekly interview on WEEI’s Salk & Holley show, discussed the responsibility that his team feels to the city of Boston in the aftermath of the bombings on Monday. Farrell said that there was an impromptu team dinner on Monday night, after the club traveled to Cleveland in the immediate aftermath of the tragic events near the finish line at the Marathon, at which players decided that they needed to pay tribute to Boston. It was from those conversations that the idea of the jersey hanging in the Sox dugout with the phrase “Boston strong” stitched above and below the number 617 emerged.

“There’s just a lot of conversations going on, not just on the concern and genuine care that the guys have for the city, all those that live there, but how could they do something to at least lend some sort of strength or spirit back to those who are affected by this,” said Farrell.

Though the events back in Boston remain prominently in the minds of team members, Farrell said that there was never any consideration to postponing Tuesday’s game.

“There wasn’t really any talk of not playing the game. As we live in a world now that there are terrorism acts ‘€¦ terrorism works best when it interrupts your daily life and takes you away from things you do in a normal routine,” said Farrell. “We’ll certainly pay our respects and give what we can to help lift up the spirit of community. I think that our sport, because of the time of the year, maybe does provide some small vehicle to get back to some normalcy and to carry on. By no means does that mean we leave people behind or not think of them, because while we’re not there in Boston, they’re in our minds as we go about our workday here.”

Farrell suggested that he anticipated an even more emotional experience when the team returns to Fenway Park on Friday against the Royals, suggesting that being back in Boston likely will offer a “more heartfelt and real tangible feel.”

“We look forward to getting back and sharing and contributing as best as we can, to continue to move forward from this,” said Farrell. “This is a good group. I think people are starting to recognize the individual personalities that are here, but more importantly, we’ve come together pretty quick as a unit. I’m not saying we’re all the way there yet, because we’ve got some guys who are on the mend, who are going to come back to this team. But it’s a good group to watch and I think it’s a fun team to pay attention to.”

OTHER NOTES

‘€¢ Farrell offered a few medical updates.

Foremost, he suggested that David Ortiz will be in the lineup on Wednesday night for Triple-A Pawtucket in the fourth game of his rehab stint. Farrell said the DH is making progress, and that the team hopes he will be back during the weekend series against the Royals.

“In talking to him on my drive into the ballpark today, he’s feeling good, although he’s in that — I don’t want to say mid-spring training game mode because he’s still working to get his timing down,” said Farrell. “Those subtle adjustments are taking place. But most importantly, his heels and Achilles are feeling good. He’s able to take everyday at-bats. He’s on the mend. We’re hopeful that sometime this weekend, he’s back in our lineup when we get back off this roadtrip.”

The precise timing of Ortiz’s return is of considerable significance to the Red Sox, given that his 2014 salary will go from $15 million to $13 million if he is on the disabled list for more than 20 days this year while returning from last season’s Achilles injury. Friday marks the 20th day of Ortiz’s time on the DL, so if he is activated by Saturday, he would still be in line — barring another trip to the DL related to his Achilles injury — for a $15 million salary next year. If he is not activated until Sunday or later, his salary would decline by $2 million for next year.

Farrell also said that Joel Hanrahan is throwing on flat ground and the symptoms in his sore right hamstring are subsiding. He is expected to make some rehab appearances in the minors before being activated from the 15-day disabled list.

John Lackey, on the DL due to a strained right biceps, has been able to throw long toss for two straight days without discomfort. He is making what Farrell described as “very good progress,” to the point where the right-hander is expected to get on a mound for a “short bullpen” session on Thursday to test his progress. Farrell said that Lackey likely needs at least one minor league rehab start before the team would consider activating him from the DL.

‘€¢ Farrell stated explicitly that Andrew Bailey will serve as the Red Sox’ closer while Hanrahan is out.

“Right now, Bailey’s our closer,” said Farrell. “I think it’s important for us to have that guy established where other guys fall in before him. They can all think along with the game and prepare for their time, mentally, where they may be called upon. That’s our approach right now with Andrew being our closer.”

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