AP source: Red Sox to hire Farrell as manager


AP source: Red Sox to hire Farrell as manager

BOSTON (AP) The Red Sox are preparing to announce that John Farrell will be their new manager, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the deal to bring the former Boston pitching coach back one year after the ballclub first tried to give him the top job.

The announcement was delayed by the unusual logistics of hiring a manager under contract with another team, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the final procedural steps had not been cleared. But the three-year deal to replace Bobby Valentine could be announced as soon as Sunday, the official said.

Red Sox spokeswoman Pam Kenn said the team had no announcement to make. Blue Jays spokesman Jay Stenhouse did not immediately respond to a voice mail seeking comment.

Comcast SportsNet New England was first to report the deal.

Farrell had one year remaining on his contract with Toronto, where he went 154-170 over the past two seasons. The Red Sox have agreed to send the Blue Jays compensation for letting Farrell leave for their AL East rivals.

Farrell was the Red Sox pitching coach for four seasons before Toronto hired him as manager two years ago. He was Boston's top target when Terry Francona was let go after the team's September collapse in 2011, but the Blue Jays would not allow him to leave.

But the Red Sox found themselves looking for a manager again just one season later, after Valentine led the team to a last-place finish and a 69-93 record that was the franchise's worst since 1965. And, after Toronto went 73-89 in 2012, the Blue Jays were willing to part with Farrell.

The Red Sox also interviewed San Diego Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus, New York Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach and Baltimore Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale.

Farrell is familiar with Red Sox management from his time in Boston and has worked with many of the club's pitchers, including starters Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.

Even before the announcement, news of the deal trickled out over Twitter, where Blue Jays reliever Casey Janssen wrote: ``Want to wish our skipper the best in Boston, good luck!''

The 50-year-old Farrell had a promising pitching career with the Cleveland Indians before an injury kept him out for the entire 1991 and `92 seasons. He returned to pitch sparingly in four more seasons, finishing his career with a 36-46 record and a 4.56 ERA.

He coached at Oklahoma State, where he pitched in college, from 1997-2001 and then spent five years in the Indians' front office before Francona, a former Cleveland teammate, brought him to Boston as pitching coach. Farrell had been Francona's heir apparent but took the Toronto job when it appeared Francona, a two-time World Series champion in Boston, would remain indefinitely.

However, the team parted ways with Francona after its unprecedented collapse in September 2011, when it went 7-20 over the final month to miss a playoff appearance by one game. In response to overtures from the Red Sox, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos created a policy prohibiting employees from moving laterally to another organization.

But Farrell, who led Toronto to an 81-81 record and fourth-place finish in his first year, fell to 16 games below .500 in his second. Veteran infielder Omar Vizquel complained that Farrell didn't do enough to help younger players correct their mistakes.

Farrell called a closed-door meeting, and Vizquel apologized.

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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 


The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall reamins out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.

The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.


The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.

By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine, if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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Game 74 Capitals at Red Wings Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 74 Capitals at Red Wings Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Detroit Red Wings

Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Mich.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Red Wings will be broadcast on NBCSN.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Red Wings game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (42-24-7) take on the Red Wings (27-35-11) Thursday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Detroit.


The Capitals-Red Wings game will be broadcast on NBCSN. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Check back with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Red Wings (on NBCSN)
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Red Wings game:

Alex Ovechkin -  Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body injury), Alex Chiasson, Jakub Jerabek


You can watch the Capitals-Red Wings game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.