Red Sox

Drellich: Dombrowski's criteria for the new manager

Drellich: Dombrowski's criteria for the new manager

BOSTON -- Amidst the little that Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski explained Wednesday, he did indicate a clear preference for experience in his next manager replacing John Farrell. 
 
Here’s what we know about the outset of Dombrowski’s managerial search. He didn't name any potential interviewees, but it's expected that both Astros bench coach Alex Cora and Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire are brought in for interviews.

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-- If you haven’t been a major-league manager or coach, you’re probably not gonna make the cut. “I think managerial [experience] helps,” Dombrowski said. “I don't think it's of 100 percent necessity. But I think being in a dugout during a game, seeing what the manager encounters is probably helpful, yeah, I do think it is. I do think it would be difficult for a person more so here than in some other places to walk directly onto the field without some on-field managerial experience at some level or big-league coaching.”
 
-- Dombo has been keeping a list of candidates. “The way I would look at it is you would ideally like to name somebody as quickly as possible but not speed up the process so you don't make a wise decision,” Dombrowski said. “I always keep a list of names for any position that I would be hiring, so I have a list and have added names to that list from some recommendations from our personnel. We'll have to whittle that list of names down and interview some individuals. I don't have a specific timeframe other than ideally it's quicker than sooner or later, but I think you deal with that dependent upon finding the right person.”  (Story continues below.)


 
-- Someone currently on the Red Sox staff, i.e. bench coach Gary DiSarcina, is not likely.  “At  this point, successor from the staff, I don’t really know,” Dombrowski said. “I’m not going to get into specific names that I’m really contemplating at this time, because I really haven’t narrowed  it down. I’d say most likely not, but I’m not going to say for sure not.” 
 
--  Someone elsewhere in the Red Sox system is not likely, either. Meaning, you can probably rule out Jason Varitek. “I don't think anybody else in the system is a candidate, within the system like that,” Dombrowski said. “And I am hesitant, as I think I said already, he should have probably some experience either managing or being on a major-league coaching staff. I'm not going to say that 100 percent, but I think that that’s important in a market like this with the club that we have that’s trying to win a championship, that that would most likely be a necessity.” 
 
-- The new manager looks like he’ll be able to bring in his own coaching staff. Farrell’s coaches are under contract under 2018, but have been told they can look for opportunities elsewhere. “What I told [the coaches] is, first  of all, I think very highly of  them,” Dombrowski said. “They’re good people. They’re good baseball people. I would recommend  to our new  manager any  of them, it’s not  a problem for me, but I do  believe a new manager needs to have his own coaching staff in place, [with our] approval . . . and making sure that there’s proper areas coached within the club . . . [I] would grant permission for any club to talk to our personnel. I know they’re signed, but I wouldn’t want to stand in their way of getting a job somewhere  else if that opportunity came up. Some of them could come back, but again, I’m  going to wait until we get a manager and I won’t  stand in  their way of interviewing elsewhere.” 
 
-- An ability to handle young players well will matter. "It will be very important,” Dombrowski said. “We have a young core of players that are outstanding young talents. I think they have a chance to be championship-type players. They're still in their growth stage. It's a great foundation for a baseball club. We do have some veterans, of course in that mix, too. But I think it's going to be very important for whomever it is to be able to relate to those youngsters, and not only relate to them, but help them get better as players." 
 
-- How well the manager handles the media handles more than it did the last time Dombrowski hired a manager, Brad Ausmus, ahead of the 2014 season. “Communication, leadership, personal skills -- probably here, I think your ability to deal with the media probably weighs more than I would say in Detroit at that particular time,” Dombrowski said. “So I think that some skills in that one to 100 may weigh more in some markets than others. That's probably an important part, maybe more so than it would have been in Detroit and some other markets but I think the overall attributes are very similar.” 
 
-- Dombrowski seems to keeping a broad window open. He also seems adept at saying a lot without saying much of anything.  “You have all different types of attributes that you’re looking for in a manager and with that job, there’s a lot of them. When you’re talking about job knowledge, you’re talking about running the game, running a pitching staff, communication with the players, communication with the front office, dealing with the media, dealing with the training staff. The list just goes on and on,” Dombrowski said. “Any individual that you talk to, you weigh how all those things fit together, and then you end up making decisions who you think will be the best for the job. 
 
“Some people may be more fiery, some people may be more level-headed. Some people maybe be better at handling a pitching staff, some people may be better at running the offensive part of the game. again, define somebody that has all those are very difficult to find, probably most of them are in the Hall of Fame and then you’re in a position where you make the best decision you possibly can."

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Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

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Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Don’t confuse the goal of a normal spring training with the likelihood one will follow.

Tyler Thornburg’s time with the Red Sox has been an ordeal. He’s optimistic he can have a regular spring training after undergoing surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome in June, a surgery that included the removal of a rib which is now on display at his parents’ house. 

He said Saturday, in fact, there’s a “very good chance” of a normal spring. But there’s also a chance his build up to regular-season form runs unevenly. And that would be OK.

“I started throwing Oct. 2, that’s when they kind of gave me the go-ahead to go tossing,” Thornburg said Saturday at Winter Weekend. “So I’ve been building up slowly since then, just trying to make sure we don’t have any setbacks or things like that, and ramp it up at a good pace. I’m throwing at 120-140 feet, so it’s about the pace I’d normally be on, granted I’d know 100 percent before where I was [under normal circumstances]. So things could be a little different."

Consider a few other things Thornburg said Saturday at Foxwoods.

“I don’t really think any of us really know how quick I’m going to bounce back necessarily as far as how quickly the recovery’s going to go in spring training after an outing,” Thornburg said. “But hopefully I mean it’s fantastic, and we can kind of just keep going.”

A bit of natural uncertainty. He missed an entire season, and the reason he missed an entire season is had a lot going on medically. 

What appeared to be a shoulder injury was far from your usual, say, rotator cuff matter. His was a nerve issue.

“Two of the neck muscles were incredibly hypertrophied, like overgrown, and they just started squeezing on the brachial plexus, where all the nerves run down,” Thornburg said. “I’d be sitting there watching a game and just a nerve thing would hit me and I’d almost get knocked over by it. As well as the first rib was getting pulled up and my hand would just turn red some days if I was just standing there, cutting off the blood circulation. Then all the scar tissue and buildup along the nerves they had to go and dissect all that off there.”

So the injury wasn’t simple, and now, the recovery process is really a whole body matter. 

"There’s a lot off things your arm has to get used to between using different muscles, as well as my arm was kind of working through a scenario where it was trying to overcompensate for this and [trying] to relieve that,” Thornburg said. “So just worked a different way. Now your body has to remember how to actually properly work again. It’s a lot of neuromuscular stuff.”

Thornburg noted the possibility too he could be ready to go to start the season but not really ready to go back to back yet. Would the Sox then carry him on the big league roster, or continue to build him up elsewhere? 

Velocity won’t be there right away for Thornburg, he said: “But I mean that’s what spring training is for for most guys anyway.”

There’s a lot of optimism, but naturally, there’s a lot to be seen. 

“The rehab process, it's been a massive rollercoaster,” Thornburg said. “It really has. But I mean, I've been trying to take it week to week which has been a lot easier. There's the good days and bad days, just different kinds.”

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Kimbrel's newborn daughter treated in Boston for heart condition

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Kimbrel's newborn daughter treated in Boston for heart condition

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Coming off a phenomenal season, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel spent the offseason in Boston. Not to be closer to Fenway Park, but for proximity to something far more important: the city’s first-rate medical community.

Kimbrel’s daughter, Lydia Joy, was born in November with a heart issue.

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“It’s been a lot,” Kimbrel said Saturday at Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods. “My wife and I, we’ve kept it kind of private. But when she was born, she had some heart defects so we decided to stay in Boston and work with Children’s Hospital and just been going through that ordeal and it’s had its ups and downs but she’s doing great right now."

Focusing wasn't always easy in season, but Kimbrel said his daughter's condition has motivated him even more.

“They always say when you have a child, things change and they have," he said. "I’m definitely more focused towards her and her needs and our family needs. It’s just one day at a time and give everything I got. It’s real easy to look at her and understand everything I’m doing is for her and it makes it a lot easier.”

Kimbrel and his wife, Ashley, found out early in the 2017 season that they would be staying in Boston for the winter and were preparing.

“Everything has kind of gone as planned so far,” Kimbrel said. “She’ll have another surgery during spring training, so I’ll come back to Boston for a week and do that, but it’s been good. It’s definitely been tough, but one of the happiest, joyful times of our life.”

"Being in Boston, we feel blessed, because the doctors are the best in the world. Being able to work with them has been great.”

Kimbrel said his wife has stayed in touch with Travis Shaw’s wife. The Shaw family has had a similar experience, Kimbrel said.

“It seems like they’re doing pretty good,” Kimbrel said. “It’s been very encouraging to see.”

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