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Red Sox fire pitching coach Dave Bush and infield coach Carlos Febles

Dave Bush could not correct the deficiencies in the Red Sox rotation.Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The Red Sox have fired pitching coach Dave Bush and third base coach/infield instructor Carlos Febles.

Bush had been the pitching coach since the 2020 season, following three years as a Red Sox minor league pitching coordinator. But with the pitching staff having struggled to a 4.52 ERA this season (21st in the big leagues), the team elected to go in a different direction.

The Sox promoted Bush to oversee their big league pitchers following the 2019 season, viewing him as the right person to blend traditional hands-on instruction with feedback and game-planning informed by the analytics department. While the 2020 staff was gutted by injuries and endured one of the worst seasons in the big leagues with a revolving-door rotation, the Sox bounced back behind a healthy rotation in 2021 to reach the playoffs and advance to the ALCS.


The 2022 and 2023 seasons saw the Red Sox integrate a growing number of young pitchers into their staff, including Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, Josh Winckowski, and Chris Murphy. Moreover, Nick Pivetta re-emerged from a significant struggle at the start of 2023 — which resulted in his move to the bullpen — to become one of the more effective pitchers in the big leagues over the final 3½ months.

That said, and while the Sox enjoyed considerable success from a bullpen anchored by Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin, the season-long struggles of the rotation played a significant role in the fall from contention. Sox starters posted a 4.68 ERA (22nd in the big leagues) and averaged just 4.8 innings per start (fourth fewest).

Febles, a longtime minor league instructor, was added to the coaching staff for the 2018 season. But while he drew praise for the progress of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, the team’s defensive collapse in 2023 contributed to the change.


According to Statcast, the Sox ranked last in the big leagues in both Outs Above Average (50 outs below average) and Runs Allowed (40 runs below average).

While the Sox engaged in more on-field pregame infield work, it didn’t yield the desired improvement.

Last Monday, before any changes to the staff were announced, manager Alex Cora made clear that the Sox expected to raise the bar in terms of their coaching work with players.

“We just had a meeting an hour ago with our coaching staff, and the tone of our conversation was we have to find ways to improve our players,” said Cora. “You have to be willing to adjust what we have tried to do the last few years for them to be better.”

Cora was asked if the need for improved methods meant a need to alter the coaching staff.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think we just have to be better. We have to be willing to go and talk to people and adjust our routines. That’s something we’ve been talking about the whole season.

“I know people talk about the coaching staff, but the people that followed us the whole time, you guys saw it, we did a lot of things we don’t usually do. It didn’t work. It’s not lack of trying, lack of effort, lack of knowledge. You’ve just got to keep trying to find ways to be better and it’s on us.”

One week later, however, it appears that the Sox decided to alter their staff in pursuit of that change in methodology.


The Sox also fired Japanese translator Keiichiro Wakabayashi, who joined the staff following the signing of Masataka Yoshida. The team felt the communication between Yoshida and the coaches needed to be improved.

Peter Abraham of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him @alexspeier.