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John Farrell on D&H: ‘Getting [Clay Buchholz] back on track might be the No. 1 objective as far the rotation goes’

08.06.14 at 5:45 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell joined Dale & Holley on Wednesday afternoon to discuss Clay Buchholz‘s struggles, Henry Owens‘ impressive Triple-A debut and the state of the club in the aftermath of the July 31 trade deadline. To listen to the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Farrell said that he had a sit-down meeting with Buchholz on Tuesday in order to discuss ways to help ease the righty out of one of the worst slumps of his career. Buchholz, expected to be one of the leaders of a young rotation going forward, allowed seven earned runs in back-to-back starts against the Blue Jays and Yankees over the last two weeks.

“Getting [Buchholz] back on track might be the No. 1 objective as far the rotation goes,” Farrell said, continuing: “When people talk about No. 1 or No. 2 starters, major leaguers perform their way into those roles, because they all have similar abilities. So whether or not if he’s a No. 1 or a No. 5 is depending upon how consistent an individual pitcher is, how durable they become, and the level of performance from outing to outing.

“We’ve seen from Clay that there’s elite performance as it’s capable, and yet the one thing that he and I talked about extensively yesterday was just trying to get him back on to the most simple element that a pitcher has under control, and that’s this pitch in this moment, and take away all the other distractions or all the other things that you’re trying to accomplish. … People might say, ‘Well, that’s no revelation,’ well, honestly, any performer, their mind at the moment is the thing that matters most.”

One of Boston’s most promising prospects, southpaw starter Henry Owens, had a fantastic debut with Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, allowing just two hits and no runs over 6 2/3 innings while striking out nine Columbus batters.

While Owens — who is 15-4 with a 2.47 ERA this season between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket — appears to be on the fast track for the majors, Farrell said that he would like to see the 22-year-old lefty continue his success with the PawSox before considering calling him up.

“I think anybody who starts the year in Double-A is on the radar,” Farrell said. “But I will say this, it’s not part of the conversation [Wednesday] to open up this spot in the rotation for when Henry arrives. I think it’s great that he went up to Pawtucket and had an outstanding debut at Triple-A and I think it’s also important to keep perspective that he needs to keep doing it, as we all do. I guess that’s the best and most honest way I can answer it.

“We’ve got a very good-looking, young, left-handed prospect starting pitcher, and I think in time he’ll clearly demonstrate that he’s ready for the next challenge, and the first step was a very positive one while at Pawtucket.”

With Boston 15 games out of first place entering Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals, Farrell said that he is switching his priorities this season from focusing on another playoff run to working with some of the new players on the roster in an effort to prepare for 2015.

“The one thing that we have to focus on is the guys that we brought in, getting to know them as players and as people and we obviously we have decisions in other areas as a result of the trades,” Farrell said. “It’s a youthful rotation, we’ve got some things that we need to focus in on and what is the game plan going forward over the final two months here to get the best answers to not only the rotation, but some other positions on the field to keep giving information to make decisions in the offseason.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On if there were any last-minute pleas to hold off on trading Jon Lester: “Those thoughts, sentiments and pounding the table take place long before the last day, I can tell you that. That’s not to say that every attempt wasn’t made or given the circumstances, was the best foot out forward, and without knowing everything that went on in those negotiations, you’d like to think that you look back and say, ‘OK, we gave it our best shot.’ “ 

On the makeup of Xander Bogaerts after moving back to shortstop: “I think mentally, he’s at ease going back to his natural position. You see that on his face, you hear it in the conversations you have with him, so there’s a level of comfort from familiarity of the position, I think, that has settled back in. I think physically and fundamentally, you compare now — the last couple of games — versus where he was at the beginning of the season, I think we’re seeing much increased range to his glove side. … I think we’re seeing a guy that’s more relaxed and showing better range up the middle.”

On whether there is an audition occurring in center field between Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt and Mookie Betts for next season: ‘What we’re trying to do is get some additional playing time, particularly for a guy like Mookie Betts. … He’s in center field tonight and hopefully we’re getting enough reps for him that we’re getting as good a read on his in-game abilities as we can.”

Read More: Clay Buchholz, henry owens, John Farrell, Red Sox
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