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Sunday, October 21, 2012
Lester on Farrell: 'It's a good thing'

By Gordon Edes

BOSTON -- Jon Lester won the deciding game of a World Series on John Farrell’s watch. He pitched a no-hitter on Farrell’s watch. Many of his best days as a big-league pitcher, in fact, came on John Farrell’s watch.

So it should shock no one that one of the first things the Red Sox left-hander did Sunday morning when he learned that he would be reunited with his former pitching coach was to text his congratulations. Farrell, the new manager of the Red Sox, called Lester on Sunday afternoon but they missed connections, so Lester will have to wait to deliver his sentiments personally.

But Lester’s public message couldn’t have been more positive, beginning with his tweet early in the day about how he couldn’t wait to get back to work.

Lester-Farrell
Jon Lester said "it will be good to know what to expect in spring training" with John Farrell as manager.
“I think it’s a good thing,’’ Lester said of what Farrell’s hiring would mean for him. “He helped mold me into the pitcher I am, the player I am. My work ethic, the work I do between starts, he really helped mold all of that.

“It will be good to have a familiar face and know what to expect coming into spring training. Last year we didn’t know what to expect. I know John, and I’m excited to get back working with him.’’

Farrell served as Red Sox pitching coach from 2007-10 before leaving to manage the Toronto Blue Jays. The Red Sox have had three pitching coaches since -- Curt Young in 2011, and Bob McClure and Randy Niemann last season. There will now be a fourth.

“Now that we got [the manager] out of the way, for me the big thing will be the pitching coach, getting that relationship built and sitting down with John and getting back to being me.’’

Lester is coming off his worst season after going 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA.

The identity of Farrell’s coaches is not yet known, although an industry source said that Farrell is planning to bring Torey Lovullo as his bench coach. One potential candidate for pitching coach is Rick Peterson, who was once Farrell’s pitching coach in the minor leagues and this year served as the Orioles’ pitching coordinator. The two are believed to have had at least indirect contact, according to a baseball source.

Lester lauded Farrell for his preparation and organization. “That’s not to say we weren’t prepared the years he wasn’t around,’’ said Lester, who appeared to take care not to criticize former manager Bobby Valentine by name.

“But John is a very meticulous person. That’s what made Tito (Francona) so good. You knew he was going to be so prepared going into each game that you knew he would put you in a situation that gave you the best chance to succeed. That’s when you end up playing better and bonding together.’’

Lester said this past season “there were a lot of times roles got changed as far as the bullpen and position players, and a lot of things weren’t communicated to the extent players would have liked.’’

Asked to describe Farrell’s communication skills, Lester said, “I can only speak for myself, but for me he was always up front with me. Whatever the issue -- a problem, a concern, even a dumb idea -- I always knew I was going to get a very truthful answer. I knew going forward that he was thinking of what was in my best interests.

“I always respected John. Whether it was about life, pitching, anything, I knew he would give me a straight answer.’’