The Red Sox announced today that they have relieved pitching coach Juan Nieves of his duties. Nieves joined the Boston coaching staff prior to the 2013 season and assisted the club’s World Series run in a year in which the team’s pitching staff posted a collective 3.79 ERA. GM Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell spoke to the media on a conference call today to discuss that change, the club’s rotation and a few other notes. Here are some highlights and a bit more on the BoSox…
- The Red Sox have a very small list of replacement candidates for Nieves, Cherington said (Twitter links via WEEI’s Rob Bradford). Boston is considering at least one internal and one external candidate. The primary reason for Nieves’ dismissal was an inability to get through to Boston’s current group of starters, Bradford tweets. Cherington stressed that there was no singular incident that led to the decision to let Nieves go, the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber tweets. There will be no further changes to the coaching staff, he added (via Bradford).
- Despite struggles within the rotation, there will be no changes to the starting five, according to Cherington (via the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier). Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson, Wade Miley, Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz have combined for a 5.54 ERA that is the second-worst rotation ERA in the Majors, with only Colorado’s 5.59 mark coming in above Boston’s starting five.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Indians Triple-A pitching coach Carl Willis is a consideration to replace Nieves (Twitter link). Willis, who has formerly served as the Major League pitching coach in Cleveland, worked with Farrell in the Indians organization in the early to mid-2000s, Rosenthal adds in a second tweet. Willis was also the Mariners’ pitching coach as recently as 2013.
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia spoke with Bradford yesterday and told him that he “was definitely hoping to come back” to Boston after initially learning that the Marlins had designated him for assignment. However, Saltalamacchia was told that he’d have to search elsewhere for employment, and he tells Bradford that he understands the Sox’ decision in wanting to give Blake Swihart a chance behind the plate. “I can completely respect that,” said Saltalamacchia, in regards to Swihart. “As a player you appreciate something like that, when a team has a homegrown, young guy they want to give an opportunity to. That’s what every player hopes for and wants, that opportunity to prove himself.”