The search for a new pitching coach is in full swing.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said in a conference call Thursday following the firing of pitching coach Juan Nieves that the club is in the process of sorting through candidates. Manager John Farrell and Co. will handle Nieves’ vacated duties in the interim, but Cherington acknowledged there being a sense of urgency to find the right man for the job in short order.

“We have a very small list of people in mind, and beyond that I can’t say,” Cherington said. “That does include at least one internal and one external candidate. But beyond that, I can’t say if there are more at this time.”

Cherington pointed to the Red Sox’s overall pitching performance as reason for parting ways with Nieves, who became Boston’s pitching coach before the 2013 season. The starting rotation, in particular, has underperformed, and Cherington expressed a desire to find a “different voice” to lead the group.

While the move isn’t all that surprising given Boston’s underwhelming start to the season, especially on the pitching side of things, it’s certainly interesting that the Red Sox didn’t have a replacement lined up. It isn’t because of a knee-jerk reaction, though. There was a lot of conversation, according to Cherington.

“Nothing happened specifically recently that precipitated this. We came to a conclusion that a change was needed,” Cherington said. “I think once you come to that conclusion, it’s important to go ahead and make the decision and move expeditiously, even if the replacement is not in place.

“So once we came to the conclusion after a lot of deliberation and discussion, etc., we felt like the right thing to do was to make the move, even though we knew that we would have to work on the replacement.”

Nieves spent 14 years coaching in the Chicago White Sox organization (1999-2012), including the final five years as bullpen coach of the major league club (2008-12), before joining the Red Sox.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images