Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Coaches await word; Tuck controls destiny
By Gordon Edes
NEW YORK -- Boston Red Sox coaches are awaiting word on their fate, along with manager Bobby Valentine. General manager Ben Cherington would not address their status Wednesday afternoon, though he noted the importance of achieving some stability at pitching coach.
The Red Sox value bullpen coach Gary Tuck, who he says he'll return "if the situation is good."
One Sox coach who controls his own destiny is bullpen coach Gary Tuck, who last year was denied permission by the Sox to speak with other clubs. In return, Tuck was given an option year on his contract in which he can decide whether he'll be back.
Tuck is widely considered the best catching instructor in the game, a reputation he first cultivated while working with the Yankees, and develops an intense loyalty with his catchers. He said that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia calls him at least once a day "365 days a year," a practice that began with Jason Varitek when Tuck first came to the Red Sox prior to the 2007 season.
"That's what you do when you join the 'Catching Academy,'" Tuck said. "Tek still calls every other day. He never left."
Asked if he wants to return, Tuck said: "If the situation is good for me, yes."
It is expected Tuck will wait to see who will manage the Red Sox next season. He also has been dealing all season with an illness in his family. But there would appear to be little doubt that the Red Sox would like him back.
The Sox, meanwhile, are now in a position where they have had four pitching coaches in the last three seasons, including two this season: Bob McClure, who was fired in August, and Randy Niemann, who initially was brought in by Valentine as a staff assistant. Curt Young was pitching coach just one season, 2011. John Farrell was pitching coach for four seasons before becoming manager of the Blue Jays.
"Too much turnover at that position," Cherington said. "That's on us. Coaches don't hold a gun to your head to be hired, and don't ask to be let go. When there's this much turnover we've got to look at ourselves a little bit. It's important to add a little more stability in that area."
The base coaches, Jerry Royster and Alex Ochoa, were both added by Valentine, so their fate is likely tied to the manager. Tim Bogar, who has been on the Sox staff since 2009 and was Valentine's bench coach this season, an uncomfortable arrangement for both men, and hitting coach Dave Magadan, on the Sox staff for six seasons, are both highly regarded by the Sox front office but could be victims of a housecleaning, if it comes to that. Again, the identity of the manager may be a deciding factor.