Notes: Farrell enjoys instant results
Pitching coach says he thrives on seeing immediate rewards
BOSTON -- Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell's present and past have been on a collision course the last couple of days. His old team, the Indians, is on one side of the Fenway Park field. And his current team, the Red Sox, who entered the night second in the American League in ERA, continue to do him proud from the other side.
The biggest difference for Farrell these days is that he gets more immediate rewards for his work. It is in sharp contrast to the role he served in as five years as director of player development in Cleveland. For as Farrell knows, it can take months and often years to see results in that capacity.
"With anybody in uniform, you're going to get instant results that night," said Farrell, who is in his first year as Boston's pitching coach. "I think that's what drives many to stay in this profession. You don't have to wait to find out if you've done a good job or not, or have been part of something that's been done well. To be on the front edge of a competitive event every night, that's what brings out the competitiveness and fire in all of us. And that was one of the basic reasons to take this opportunity, not to mention many others."
For an example of the type of instant gratification a pitching coach can receive, look no further than Red Sox ace Curt Schilling throwing an unprompted verbal bouquet Farrell's way after his fine performance Monday. Schilling rediscovered the life on his fastball and the bite on his split, and made it clear that Farrell played no small role.
"I think for any coach to have players speak about the work that you're doing with a given player, certainly in [Monday] night's case -- it was evident -- it's rewarding," Farrell said. "As a former player and a coach now, with every starting pitcher and every pitcher that walks to the mound, you're living in some way through that person on a given night."
All Farrell can do between starts is do as much work as possible with the individual pitcher. Once the game starts, it's largely out of his control.
"To see some things click, to see some minor adjustments be put into play in a game and have that kind of outcome, it's rewarding to see Curt have that experience," Farrell said. "It's rewarding to have some small part in that. But I think first and foremost, the way I view it is that the player is always first. This isn't about me, it's about the players. I live by that motto as a coach."
Farrell -- who was so effective in his former role that some baseball insiders tabbed him as a general manager in waiting -- now has a smaller area of focus.
"With this, you're developing more one-on-one relationships obviously," Farrell said. "The experiences in the past role have definitely made me more prepared to serve as best as I can in this role."
Papi set to return: After missing three straight games with tightness in his hamstrings -- all of which were won by the Red Sox -- David Ortiz will return to the lineup on Wednesday night.
"He's improving," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "[But] not to the point where I felt comfortable playing him today. We sat around and talked about it last night for a while. I'm sure we'll visit it again here in a little bit. You know what? I kind of tried to tell him -- because he feels such a responsibility to be out there -- that I don't want him to hurt himself. I think by trying to get this under control, we don't have to fight it all year. I really don't want to do that. And I trust his judgment, too. I know he wants to be out there."
The Red Sox, despite their success the last few days, will welcome their gregarious slugger back with open arms.
"It's a huge presence to miss in your lineup is that big man," Sox cacher Jason Varitek said. "We've had consistency through the lineup where we've had help with different people. That, along with our starting pitching has allowed us to win games."
One positive spinoff of Ortiz sitting is that Manny Ramirez got a chance to rest his legs for a second straight night and serve as the DH.
"This is a perfect chance -- take advantage of it," Francona said. "We actually told him he could do it in Texas, and he wanted to play left field, which is OK. But any time we can keep his bat and give him the DH part of the game, I think that can only help us in the long run. Any time you can keep the bat and keep his legs refreshed, that's good."
No Rocket launch at Fenway: What could have been a huge story -- Roger Clemens making his first start of 2007 against the Red Sox -- will not occur. Yankees manager Joe Torre announced his rotation for this weekend's series at Fenway, sans Clemens. Instead, the Rocket will likely have his grand opening in Chicago against the White Sox on Monday.
At Fenway, the Yankees will go with Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte. The Red Sox will lead off with Tim Wakefield on Friday night. Though Saturday was Julian Tavarez's regular spot in the rotation, the Red Sox will utilize Thursday's off-day so that Schilling (Saturday) and Josh Beckett (Sunday) can both pitch against the Yankees. Tavarez will lead off a four-game series in Oakland on Monday night.
Pedroia's pop: Second baseman Dustin Pedroia continues to emerge after a rough start. Pedroia took a .298 average into Tuesday's game and has been hitting the ball with authority of late.
"He's proven he's a good player," first baseman Kevin Youkilis. "You can't draw conclusions on less than 100 at-bats. He's been a good player."
The Red Sox also have a solid backup at second base in Alex Cora, and Francona will keep trying to maximize the duo.
"I actually think he and Cora are a really good second baseman," Francona said. "What they give us, both, together, has been phenomenal. I know there was some clamoring to give up on Pedroia early. I think that would have been a big, big mistake. He's a pretty good player. He knows how to play the game. Now, that his numbers are where they are, I'm sure it's loosened him up, but he also knows how to play. He can move the runner and do things like that. He's a good player."
On deck: Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch the 7:05 ET finale of this three-game series on Wednesday night. He'll be opposed by soft-tossing righty Paul Byrd.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.