The slumping Boston Red Sox will have a new pitching coach for the remainder of their tumultuous first season under manager Bobby Valentine.
Bob McClure was fired Monday and replaced by Randy Niemann with the Red Sox on the fringe of the playoff race following another rough stretch.
"We felt like we needed to make a change to put our pitchers in the best position to do what they needed to do," general manager Ben Cherington said. "The next six weeks are important to create a foundation going into the offseason. We felt like this change was needed to give ourselves the best chance to do that."
The Red Sox have lost 12 of 18 games this month to fall off the pace in the competitive AL East. Boston's 4.30 team ERA was 11th in the American League heading into Monday's games.
"This is a performance-based decision," Cherington said. "As I said yesterday, there's been a real good effort on the part of the staff to work together and iron out any communication issues that may have existed previously. This decision had nothing to do with that."
Yet another pitching coach lasting one season or less with the Red Sox. Some may see it as a positive, Peter Abraham explains.
The firing of Bob McClure as pitching coach can be interpreted as a show of support for Bobby Valentine by the Red Sox.
General manager Ben Cherington said the decision was based on performance. That Red Sox starting pitchers have a 4.82 earned run average, the fourth-worst in the American League, certainly provided ample cause.
But McClure also tangled with Valentine throughout the season, to the point where they rarely spoke. Their communication improved in recent weeks, but the relationship never a productive one.
Cherington said “no” when asked if any other changes were planned to the coaching staff. Bench coach Tim Bogar and bullpen coach Gary Tuck have had their differences with Valentine as well.
“This decision didn’t have anything to do with that. We felt like we needed to make a chance to put our pitchers in the best position to do what they needed to do in the next six weeks,” Cherington said. “The next six weeks are important no matter what our record ends up.”
If there are multiple coaches that have had their differences with Valentine, wouldn't firing Valentine be the logical thing to do. You COULD fire the entire coaching staff and try to get rid of some players just to make a statement that you stand by Valentine. Or, you could just get rid of Valentine and bring in a someone that is not a camera loving, big mouth manager.
There are some players that need to go no matter what they do with Bobby, but he has to go sooner than later.
Related: CSNNE: Red Sox fire pitching coach Bob McClure | Does McClure's firing bode well for Valentine return? | ESPN Boston: McClure out as pitching coach | Herald: Red Sox fire pitching coach Bob McClure
On Page 2, Carl Crawford's surgery is set for Thursday.
Having played 31 games through persistent and, it turns out, increasing pain in his left elbow, Crawford met yesterday with the Red Sox [team stats] medical and training staff, which finally agreed that the left fielder will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery Thursday to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Crawford will not play tonight or tomorrow.
“I think it became clear over the last few days that surgery was going to happen. It was just a question of when,” general manager Ben Cherington said on a conference call last night. “We felt like, after talking about it more this weekend with Carl, the right thing to do was to get it taken care of now.”
Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery. Andrews examined Crawford’s elbow in April and has consulted with the team’s medical staff on treating the injury.
For position players, the typical recovery time from the procedure ranges from seven to nine months. Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles had Tommy John surgery in 2009 while with the Kansas City Royals and returned in about 71⁄2 months.
Under that timetable, Crawford likely would miss at least the first few weeks of next season.
Herald: Carl Crawford surgery Thursday
Deja vu. The first few weeks will turn into an additional week, that will turn into another two weeks, that will turn into another month. I have a feeling we won't see Carl Crawford until June.
The rest of the links:
Herald: Red Sox GM knows bigger fixes needed | Players, family give their final cheer to legend Johnny Pesky | Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda charged with DUI | Globe: For Crawford, timing right for surgery | Nava homers in rehab game | CSNNE: First pitch: End of road for Red Sox | Johnny Pesky's funeral held Monday | ESPN Boston: Nava homers in rehab game | Schilling: Social media isn't helping Sox