John Farrell Reiterates Focus on Managing Blue Jays, Not Red Sox, But Empathizes With Bobby Valentine

John Farrell Reiterates Focus on Managing Blue Jays, Not Red Sox, But Empathizes With Bobby ValentineBOSTON — John Farrell understands the speculation. From 2006 to 2010, the Blue Jays
manager oversaw the Red Sox pitching staff and helped mold the likes of Josh Beckett and Jon Lester into winners.

Now, with the Red
Sox struggling –specifically with their pitching –Farrell has emerged as a
possible successor to manager Bobby Valentine, who has come under fire for a
litany of communication issues and a 63-75 record.

But that’s
only if Boston’s brass elects to make a switch. Despite the connection, Farrell
reiterated that he was strictly focused on his current contract with the Blue
Jays, which runs through 2013.

“There’s a lot of speculation but
as I said last week in Toronto, I’m the manager of the Blue Jays,” Farrell
said. “This is where my focus and commitment is. I’m under contract.
That’s obvious. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. At the same
time, we’ve dealt with a lot of challenges ourselves. I can understand the
natural connection because I’ve worked here in the past, but my focus is clearly
with the Blue Jays.”

Since Farrell left in 2010,
the Red Sox pitching coach position has been a revolving door.

Curt Young lasted one season
and returned to Oakland. Bob McClure inherited the responsibility this season
and received the axe in August. Now, Randy Niemann is holding down the fort in
the interim.

So would Farrell’s familiarity
in the Boston market help his cause?

“I’ve never managed in
Boston,” Farrell said. “I’ve only managed in one place, and that’s
right here in Toronto. Having worked in Boston, sure, there’s a tremendous fan
base that’s very passionate, the expectations are very high, but as a
competitor, that’s what you aspire to do and be involved in.”

Through two seasons with the
Blue Jays –– heading into Friday’s game against the Red Sox –– Farrell has tallied
a 142-156 record. Like the Red Sox this season, the skipper’s team in Toronto is reeling from
injuries.

Before taking on the Red Sox,
the Blue Jays activated Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia, two integral parts of
the starting lineup. They also lost starting pitcher J.A. Happ for the rest of
the season.

So Farrell can certainly sympathize with
Valentine.

“I’ll say this — knowing
what the Red Sox have gone through, with the amount of players they’ve lost to
injury, I can empathize with Bobby and having to deal with a lot of changes to
the roster,” Farrell said. “And because of that change, you’re always
trying to filter in new guys and get an understanding of what their
capabilities are and how you can best utilize them to win a ballgame.”

That’s as far as Farrell
wanted to go addressing the Red Sox situation.

Have a question for
Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few
questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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