Coaches look to get early jump on Spring Training
Nieves introducing himself to pitchers on staff, laying groundwork for camp
BOSTON -- After the Winter Meetings, the Red Sox's top brass will head to JetBlue Park at Fenway South. Most of the Red Sox's coaching staff is new to the team -- or in manager John Farrell's case, new to the team's year-old Spring Training complex -- and they want a leg up as planning for camp begins.
"With the exception of [bullpen coach] Gary Tuck, [first-base coach] Arnie Beyeler and [assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez], we've never laid eyes on that complex," Farrell said Saturday at Fenway Park. "And to have some understanding of it, to begin to plan Spring Training, so when we start there's no hidden element to this."
With the coaching staff now fully in place after Rodriguez's hiring was announced Friday, some mentoring is already under way.
New pitching coach Juan Nieves has reached out to the arms he'll be working with, to positive reviews.
"I talked to him the other day, it was great," reliever Andrew Bailey said Saturday. "We're going to work together and put a little program down. He loved my thoughts of kind of starting just a little bit of throwing program next week, just to kind of get things going. You know, I'm a guy I'd rather scale things back than rush and feel like you have to catch back. We have plans to talk again next week, to talk about a throwing program and that kind of stuff. I think it's great, I'm looking forward to working with him and you know, it's going to be fun."
Nieves said he's talked even to pitchers who are out of the country. He's planning to go visit right-hander Daniel Bard, as large a project as the Red Sox have heading into 2013.
Nieves said he'll visit as many as he can in person, although it's difficult in the offseason when players have valuable family time.
"It's an introduction over the phone," Nieves said. "Hopefully I'll be able to travel in January and see them individually. Bard, I'm planning to go and see him in Mississippi when he starts throwing. So far, I'm talking to everybody over the phone and I'll touch base right before Christmas again, just for the guys who started throwing, what are they doing with the long-toss program. I just want to talk to them, run things by them and see how they're doing."
Nieves already has broken down video, and because he's a "very positive guy," he's been watching the tape of how things were when pitchers were going well.
Farrell himself has been spending a lot of time at Fenway Park, and he's been involved in recruitment of some free agents. He expects that to continue as the offseason, still somewhat early in general manager Ben Cherington's mind, unfolds.
"To varying degrees," Farrell said. "I think that's probably more related to where we are in certain stages with individual guys and would certainly anticipate that to be the case going forward."