SAN FRANCISCO — Future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel claimed there was a lack of leadership, and accountability, in John Farrell’s clubhouse when he managed the Blue Jays this season. The team’s biggest star disagrees.
On the eve of Farrell’s swearing in as Red Sox manager at a noon news conference at Fenway Park, slugger Jose Bautista, said he will miss Farrell and said the team’s poor record had nothing to do with Farrell’s managing.
“He’s a good man and a good leader and he tried his best with all the injuries and roster we had,” Bautista said in a telephone interview. “He’s a class act. He treated me with respect and he was always stand-up with me. His door was always open.”
About Vizquel’s charges that mistakes were never corrected and younger players didn’t get better, Bautista said, “I don’t know why Omar said that. And let me say this about Omar, he’s going to be a very good major league manager. He could be a manager right now, this year. But as far as what he said, I saw our coaching staff always working with players before the game trying to make them better. We have one of the hardest-working coaching staffs in baseball. We addressed those things. There’s nothing to complain about there.
“Sometimes when veterans get hurt and younger guys come to take their place, it’s tough for the younger guys. They’re going from one set of instruction and now all of a sudden they’re put in a position where they have to be brought up to the major leagues and learn how to play at this level. Mistakes are going to be made, but as far as not working to correct them, I thought our coaching staff worked very hard trying to do that,” said Bautista, who missed the final 70 games after wrist surgery.
Bautista, who said he’s on schedule on his rehabilitation from surgery and should be able to fully participate in spring training, said once speculation started that Farrell was Boston’s top choice, he knew Farrell was gone.
“I could see it happening at that point,” Bautista said. “You can’t blame the man for that. I don’t hold that against him. That’s a historic franchise and a historic city, and I don’t think the fans here are going to hold it against him. Some will, and that’s just human nature, but while I’m sure they wonder why he left, I think everyone knew he was capable of doing a good job.
“He did all he could do in Toronto with the roster and the injuries. We as players have to play better. We’re all capable of playing better. It’s nothing that John did or didn’t do or the coaches did or didn’t do. We play the game and we just didn’t play it well enough.”
Bautista thinks Farrell will do well with Boston.
“He’ll have the respect of the players,” he said. “He’ll do things the right way. They have a good a manager and I know from my personal experience with him. I’m going to miss him.”
Wotus wants a shot
Colchester, Conn.’s Ron Wotus, who has spent nine years as the bench coach in San Francisco, continues to be overlooked for managerial positions. Wotus doesn’t understand the reason, but he said, “I would love to manage.” . . . One name being heard more as a possibility to become a hitting coach for the first time is Matt Stairs. Those who played with him over the years believe the NESN analyst would be terrific, and there’s a chance the Red Sox could consider him for their job. Another name heard often is that of former Pawtucket hitting coach Chili Davis, who did a great job with Oakland this season. It’s interesting that the Cardinals and the Giants have two hitting coaches. Mark McGwire is the Cardinals hitting coach, but he has John Mabry as his assistant. The Giants have Hensley Meulens, with Joe Lefebvre as his assistant. “Tony La Russa is the one who implemented that here,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “And I think it’s invaluable. There’s so much work to do be done. These hitters start showing up five or six hours before game time, starting to do their work. And it’s usually too much for one coach to handle. “For us, Mabry has done a great job being the right-hand man to Mark. They work so well together. Everybody is usually on the same page. I know it’s made a big difference on our club this year.”
Holliday back in
Matheny reinserted Matt Holliday in the lineup after he missed Game 6 with a sore back, even though he was still feeling it a little Monday. That took Matt Cain killer Matt Carpenter out of the Cardinals lineup . . . Injured Giants closer Brian Wilson’s antics in the dugout during games are pretty funny, but Bochy said, “I try not to watch Brian, to be honest. I’ve got enough to watch during the game and he can distract you in the dugout. There’s some things going on, I know, and sometimes you’re better off turning your head and not watching him. But I’ll say this, he’s been there for the guys. He’s pulling for them. He does a great job of keeping those guys loose.”
Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.