With the departure of Torey Lovullo to his own managerial gig with the Arizona Diamondbacks, so went the cloud hanging over John Farrell’s head manifested by fans and media. Or said cloud at least shrunk a bit.
Still, that also left a hole by Farrell’s side as his right hand man and bridge between him and the Red Sox players.
Enter Gary DiSarcina.
The Malden, Mass., native raised in Billerica, Mass., was the Lowell Spinners manager from 2007-2009 and with Pawtucket in 2013 -- the same year he was name the Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America. He then left Boston to rejoin the team he played for, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, to serve as Mike Scioscia’s third base coach.
In DiSarcina’s previous run with Boston, he was able to work with some of the players part of the Red Sox “youth movement” and witnessed their growth from the days he was their skipper.
“I can pinpoint Xander [Bogaerts] for example, [The Angels] played [the Red Sox] in 2014 and he had a rough -- I thought -- some rough actions out there, rough year out there,” DiSarcina said. “You could tell he was working on things and just wasn’t quite comfortable at shortstop. The next two years he’s just really taking off. He’s making plays now.”
DiSarcina mentioned how he spoke to 18-year MLB shortstop Alfredo Griffin -- now the first base coach for the Angels -- and he expressed how Bogaerts is making the “subtle plays”.
“Tough little hops you can take for granted,” DiSarcina said. “But you know as a former infielder that they were difficult hops and plays.”
DiSarcina spent parts of 12 seasons in the bigs, all with the Angels, so he hasn’t experienced being in the first base dugout at Fenway. However, he was a big Boston fan in his youth and even recalls heckling Roger Clemens -- when he was on the Red Sox.
“I understand that it’s a daily passion,” DiSarcina said. “From the writers, the papers, he talk shows and I think you have to embrace it. When players embrace it -- I think of Mike Napoli and Kevin Millar, those guys embraced the town, embraced the people -- [they] didn’t take it personally.
“You can’t take it personally. I think that helps me a little bit, as well as being in the major leagues a player and a coach for 15 years.”
And in case you’re wondering, though the two crossed paths in their playing careers, DiSarcina never told Clemens about the day he heckled him at Fenway Park.
Probably for the best.