Red Sox Fire Pitching Coach Bob McClure in Wake of Rotation’s Struggles, Promote Randy Niemann

Red Sox Fire Pitching Coach Bob McClure in Wake of Rotation's Struggles, Promote Randy NiemannThe Red Sox made a major shakeup to their coaching staff on Monday evening — but it's probably not the one you were expecting.

Boston fired pitching coach Bob McClure, with the news breaking via various news outlets around 6:30 p.m. ET and being confirmed by the team in a press release about half an hour later.

McClure had joined the Red Sox as a special assignment scout and instructor in November 2011, and a month later was given the job of pitching coach. Ever since spring training, however, rumors had circulated about McClure's lack of a relationship with manager Bobby Valentine, and it had been reported that the two had only started speaking to each other on a regular basis recently.

To take his place, the Red Sox promoted Randy Niemann, who had been serving as the team's assistant pitching coach after spending 24 years with the New York Mets, including several stints as the team's bullpen coach. In fact, Niemann worked with Valentine between 1997 and 2002, so there should be some familiarity there.

McClure's firing comes in the wake of another subpar start by former ace Josh Beckett, and a season's worth of struggles from Beckett and fellow humbled ace Jon Lester. Entering Monday, the team was 17-29 in games started by the duo, and they carry ERAs of 5.23 and 5.03, respectively.

In a season where all eyes have been on Valentine and the Red Sox' management has twice had to send out open letters defending their field manager, it may be a bit of a surprise to see another member of the coaching staff get sacked. However, given the organization's public support of Valentine, the pair's communication issues and the rotation's underachieving, perhaps it shouldn't have been that unexpected.

Now, the only question that remains is whether this was an isolated move, or the beginning of a house clearing.

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