Manager John Farrell returning to Red Sox after cancer scare
CLEVELAND (AP) John Farrell was forced to step away from the Red Sox because of cancer. He will return as their manager in 2016, an announcement that ends Boston’s second straight troubling season on an uplifting note.
The club said Sunday that Farrell, who recently completed his final course of chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, will be back next season.
Boston announced Farrell’s return before Sunday’s season finale against Cleveland. The 53-year-old left the Red Sox on Aug. 14 after being diagnosed with stage 1 lymphoma, detected when he had surgery to repair a hernia.
”It’s the right thing to do from an organizational perspective,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. ”He’s won before. He deserves it. We look forward to us bouncing back in 2016.”
Farrell will have more tests in about three weeks, according to Dombrowski, who added he has been told Farrell’s full recovery could take up to six months.
”All indications are good,” Dombrowski said. ”Right now he feels like he’ll be OK for next year.”
The club also gave Torey Lovullo, Boston’s bench coach who served as interim manager while Farrell was out, a two-year contract extension through 2017. Lovullo waived his right to pursue managerial openings, and with him under contract, Boston has protection in case Farrell can’t come back.
Lovullo is one of Farrell’s closest friends and is looking forward to working alongside him again.
”It’s great news,” Lovullo said. ”We’re excited because we’re looking for his good health. That’s the most important thing here. All along we were all assuming John was coming back. There was never any doubt in my mind or the rest of the coaching staff’s mind. This is John’s team. It’s his job.”
Farrell was hired as Boston’s manager in October 2012 and led the Red Sox to a World Series title in his first season. He signed a two-year contract extension in February through the 2017 season with club holding an option for 2018.
Farrell has a 246-243 (.503) record with the Red Sox, who were 78-83 entering Sunday’s finale and last in the AL East. Boston only has seven more wins than in 2014 and will consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1993-94.
Lovullo said the opportunity to stay on Farrell’s staff outweighed any personal ambitions.
”It was a difficult decision for me,” said Lovullo, who guided the Red Sox to a 28-19 record heading into the finale. ”It just felt right to be here. It just felt right to stay here. It just felt right to see this through. I have a love for the organization. I have a love for John. I have a love for the players. ”
”I want to be here for John. I want to assist John in any way I possibly can. I want to make sure it lines up the way it’s supposed to line up before I ran out on him.”
Indians manager Terry Francona was pleased to hear Farrell will return. When Cleveland was in Boston, he accompanied Farrell to his first chemo treatment.
”I guess I always figured he would (return),” said Francona, who led the Red Sox to two World Series titles. ”I’ve been so fixated on him as a friend and what he’s going through that I really never thought about it. I never even thought to ask him in all the conversations. I guess as much as we all care about baseball, when that enters into it, I never really even thought to bring it up.”
Boston did not renew the contract of first-base coach Arnie Beyeler. Third-base coach Brian Butterfield will return along with hitting coach Chili Davis and pitching coach Carl Willis.