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October 22, 2012

Farrell must focus on pitching immediately

You’re kidding yourself if you think new Red Sox manager John Farrell will have all the time in the world on his hands while trying to fix a dismal Boston pitching staff that posted a 4.70 ERA in 2012, ranking 27th out of 30 staffs in the majors.

Farrell, a former Red Sox pitching coach who spent the past two seasons as manager of Toronto, worked with pitchers less than you would think while managing, Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow said.

“He’s so busy handling everything that he doesn’t spend a lot of time (with just the pitchers),” Morrow said about Farrell last month. “Obviously, he’s very knowledgeable and we’ve had good conversations about changing speeds and kind of the big thing I’ve added this year: the separation between my curveball and fastball. ... But the manager has such a busy job he’s not out at bullpens and stuff.”

A manager obviously has a ton of responsibilities. He must research matchups, put together lineups, deal with the media, cultivate relationships, set the clubhouse mood and know everything that is happening with everybody on his team — and much more.

Farrell, who the Red Sox signed to a three-year deal over the weekend to be their manager, will have much more on his to-do list than improving the pitching.

But pitching should be Farrell’s greatest concern and focus this offseason and upcoming season considering the Sox staff has been horrendous over the past two years. It ranked 22nd out of 30 staffs in ERA in 2011.

Pitching certainly is Farrell’s greatest area of expertise.

Before managing the Blue Jays, the ex-major league hurler was Boston’s pitching coach from 2007-10. The Red Sox posted an American League-best 3.87 ERA in 2007. Boston hurlers recorded the third-best ERA in the league (4.11) during Farrell’s four years here.

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