Red Sox

Farrell's coaching search continues; Bogar appears out


Farrell's coaching search continues; Bogar appears out

BOSTON -- The Red Sox are scrambling to assemble a coaching staff in the wake of John Farrell's hiring earlier this week.

The Sox are some six weeks ahead of last season, when Bobby Valentine was hired in early December, but, still, time is of the essence, since the Sox are competing with other teams for the field of available coaches.

At least one other club (the Cleveland Indians) is also putting together a staff, and three other teams (Toronto, Miami and Colorado) are still looking for managers. Soon, they'll be hiring coaches, too.

Obviously, the faster the Sox move, the better position they'll be in.

The Sox have already tabbed -- but not announced -- Torey Lovullo as Farrell's bench coach. Lovullo managed Pawtucket in 2010, interviewed for the Sox' managerial opening last fall and served as Farrell's first-base coach in Toronto the last two seasons.

A number of other coaches from the Toronto staff, each free to seek jobs elsewhere, are also candidates for the Red Sox staff.

Brian Butterfield could be a candidate to be Farrell's third-base coach, though he may be interviewed for Toronto's managerial vacancy.

Two other Blue Jays coaches -- pitching coach Bruce Walton and bullpen coach Pete Walker - are also thought be under consideration as Farrell's pitching coach in Boston.

Rick Peterson, who has served as a major-league pitching coach for Oakland, the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers, remains something of a longshot candidate.

Peterson, who has some unorthodox views on pitching and has partnered with Dr. James Andrews to study the biochanics of pitching. He served last year as the Baltimore Orioles' minor-league pitching coordinator.

Former Red Sox bullpen coach Gary Tuck had hoped to return to Farrell's staff as bench coach, but that position will go to Lovullo. It's unknown whether Tuck would accept an offer to return as bullpen coach, or whether he could be a candidate for the pitching coach position.

There's a good chance that Alex Ochoa, who served as first-base coach and outfield instructor, could return to the same position under Farrell.

Tim Bogar, who has worked as both first- and third-base coach and last year served as bench coach, does not appear to be a candidate to return.

Bogar is regarded favorably by both Farrell and GM Ben Cherington, but, according to a source, a person in upper management remains unhappy that Bogar didn't work better with former manager Bobby Valentine.

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall


HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement


MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.