New pitching coach Carl Willis joins Red Sox
TORONTO (AP) Joining the struggling Boston Red Sox in midseason is ''a bit of an uncomfortable situation'' for new pitching coach Carl Willis.
Willis, who was hired Saturday, had been working as pitching coach for Cleveland's Triple-A team in Columbus and was previously the pitching coach for Cleveland and Seattle. He takes over after Juan Nieves was fired Thursday.
Boston's 5.04 team ERA entering play Sunday is the worst in the American League
Willis joined his new team in Toronto and spoke to the pitchers before Sunday's game against the Blue Jays. He acknowledged being more familiar with Boston's coaching staff than he is with the pitchers.
''It's going to take a little while for me to get up to speed,'' Willis said. ''Obviously I'll be watching them in a whole different perspective now. I've asked them for a little bit of patience to allow me that time and I will connect with them.''
The 54-year-old Willis was a reliever for nine years in the majors, finishing in 1995. He knows Red Sox manager John Farrell and bench coach Torey Lovullo from their time together in the Cleveland organization. Batting coach Chili Davis was a big league teammate in Minnesota.
''That's going to help me to get more comfortable, which I hope to do quickly,'' Willis said.