Red Sox

Farrell unlikely to use Kimbrel in eighth inning


Farrell unlikely to use Kimbrel in eighth inning

BOSTON — The marriage of Craig Kimbrel and the ninth inning is unlikely to change this season, based on the way manager John Farrell spoke Saturday afternoon. 

It’s unfortunate that relationship is so committed. Because there are few moments that leave you wondering “What if?” like keeping a reliever who is so much better than everyone out of a game during an eighth-inning collapse, because that pitcher just has to pitch the ninth inning.


Would Farrell use Kimbrel in the eighth inning but not the ninth, foregoing a save?

“I wouldn’t rule it out, but part of the way our bullpen is constructed and the way it’s been extremely successful, I mean if, for instance, if we’re talking hypotheticals here and if we didn’t have a bullpen that was ranked going into last night the best in baseball, something has been working pretty darn well,” Farrell said Saturday. “So, that’s to say I have complete confidence in every guy that’s in that bullpen and as establishing roles is important to that, I think staying consistent with it is part of that success.”

This is not a condition unique to the Red Sox. Not at all. Come playoff time, assuming the Sox make it, maybe there’s greater leniency. 

But saves come in the ninth, from finishing out games. Closers get saves. Kimbrel is a closer. 

Farrell believes in the benefit of bullpen roles. Undoubtedly, routine and structure are beneficial. But the implication that Kimbrel pitching the eighth inning could not be incorporated into routine or structure doesn’t really hold up. If Addison Reed’s innings are flexible and Matt Barnes' are as well, Kimbrel’s could be too.

Farrell’s done a good job with the bullpen this year. The relievers themselves deserve more credit than anyone. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.


Kimbrel back in camp, but infant daughter on his mind

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Kimbrel back in camp, but infant daughter on his mind

Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel has returned to Fort Myers after spending the past three weeks in Boston, where his infant daughter Lydia has undergone multiple heart surgeries at Boston Children's Hospital.

On Monday, an emotional Kimbrel spoke to reporters in Florida, including The Boston Herald's Michael Silverman, about the ordeal after throwing a batting practice session.  

"We’ll be in and out of Boston Children’s Hospital the rest of her life but for this stay, hopefully, a couple more weeks," Kimbrel said. “She’s in the recovery process but life-threatening wise, she’s in a good place that I can be down here." 

Kimbrel said he and his wife Ashley "can't say enough about how amazing Boston Children's Hospital has been." 

"There's no denying it's been the toughest thing we've ever been through," Kimbrel said.  

"In the last week, her recovery has been unbelievable and she's showing great signs and we're very blessed and we want to thank the Red Sox and Alex [Cora] for understanding they've been through this and working with us," Kimbrel said. 

He said Lydia, born in November, will need another surgery when she's around 3 or 4 years old to help ensure normal development. 

"It's been tough, I can say that. We're definitely, me and my wife, we've had each other and we've had our family, we've had a great support. Everyone is sending out prayers that have definitely been heard. Now, I'm back down here. The other day I threw a live BP up at Babson [College in Wellesley, Mass.], and me and her got to talking and seeing where Lydia is, and how she's progressed, she's in a good, comfortable place for me to be down here. If she wasn't, I wouldn't be here.

"My family comes first and then baseball comes. I have to thank the Red Sox for letting me be there with my family and then helping me continue to prepare while I was at home. Stepping away for a few hours was definitely a release. It did help to get in the weight room. It did help to throw the ball. But that's not going to take away the emotions we went through in the hospital."

Kimbrel said he and his wife talked about how fortunate they were to be in Boston and its world-class healthcare facilities. 

"We believe that everything in life happens for a reason, even if we don't understand it at the time," he said. "There's a lesson to be learned and something to be shared through every step you go through in life. As difficult as this is, and I know it will take time, hopefully, this experience and everything we've been through, we can share that with others, try to impact someone else's life. Because I know for a fact my daughter's going to be able to do that one day."



Kimbrel returns to Red Sox after daughter's heart surgery

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Kimbrel returns to Red Sox after daughter's heart surgery

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel returned to Fort Myers on Sunday after his 4-month-old daughter underwent successful heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Red Sox are confident he'll be ready for Opening Day.

“Oh, yeah. Plenty,” manager Alex Cora replied when asked if Kimbrel had time to get ready for the March 29 opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg. “With him it’s a different schedule, anyway. He’ll be ready.”

Kimbrel's daughter, Lydia Joy, was born with a heart defect. He left the team Feb. 28 to be with her and his family in Boston, but pitching coach Dana Levangie said Kimbrel was on a pitching program during that time.

“The most important thing is that the family is okay with [Kimbrel returning to the Sox],” Cora said. “If they’re okay with it, we’re okay with it.”