Lovullo a natural fit as bench coach for Farrell
Pair have been friends for 20 years, stemming from stint as teammates with Angels
BOSTON -- Sometimes a manager and a bench coach need some time to find their chemistry. That won't be part of the equation for John Farrell and Torey Lovullo, who have been friends for 20 years, and love nothing more than picking each other's brains about baseball.
When Farrell officially appointed Lovullo as his bench coach on Friday, he added yet another dimension to a relationship that started in 1993, when the two were teammates on the Angels.
In the ensuing years, they bonded together in different ways. They also teamed up at Triple-A Buffalo in 1995.
During Farrell's time as the farm director of the Cleveland Indians (2002-06), Lovullo was always the manager of one of his Minor League affiliates.
In 2010, Farrell was Boston's pitching coach and Lovullo was the manager for Triple-A Pawtucket. And then there were the last two years, when Lovullo served as Farrell's first-base coach in Toronto.
"The relationship we formed was pretty unique," said Lovullo. "I think we developed a natural confidence in one another."
Aside from their obvious comfort with one another, why was Farrell convinced that Lovullo was the right man to take on the role as bench coach in Boston?
Farrell cited three reasons -- knowledge of the game, communication and decision-making.
"I think you first connect with a person on a way they live their life, the way they view the game, the way they interact with people. That was present in '93 when we were teammates with the Angels," said Farrell. "And I think as you go through different roles, and they maybe involve different levels of the game later on, you see how people react to certain challenges.
"So it started on a personal level, but then on the professional level, we were fortunate to be in the same spot for it to grow. I think it just strengthens that over time."
Farrell already has a clear picture in his mind of what types of things Lovullo will assist him with.
"The way Torey and I have talked about this role for him, one of the main responsibilities, even before Spring Training, he'll coordinate and run Spring Training," Farrell said. "As we move into the start of the season, there's no question he'll have control of the running game. I think most importantly to all of that are the options he can present as he's managing the game in his mind. What can he communicate to me?"
Unlike last season, when manager Bobby Valentine and bench coach Tim Bogar had a swift falling-out and a fundamental lack of trust in each other, Farrell and Lovullo figure to be a well-oiled machine on Boston's bench.
"I can look over at John and at times get a feel from just watching some of his reactions to what he's thinking and what he's doing," Lovullo said. "That will be an advantage for me in being in the dugout with him, and I think we'll be able to challenge one another. I think we'll be able to inspire one another. It will be my job to sit there and think like he is, to the best of my ability. That relationship that we've had over the years is going to be a natural fit for us to move forward in that area."
The hiring of Lovullo was the first made by Farrell, who still has to fill the roles of hitting coach, pitching coach, third-base coach, first-base coach and bullpen coach.
"We've got some work to do," Farrell said. "We're deep into it not only building lists as they relate to each position on the staff, but getting recommendations, going deeper than just our personal relationships with an individual candidate. So we're working through it. We'd like to get it done sooner than later, but we're not going to take any shortcuts just to put names to positions."