As the old saying goes- “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” In this case I wish I wasn’t right, but as I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, after John Farrell was hired by the Blue Jays as their manager, there was a very real possibility Farrell would hire his friend Torey Lovullo as a member of his coaching staff. It has happened and for the second straight year the PawSox will have a new manager at McCoy. I spoke to Torey on Monday night and he was understandably excited. “It’s a great opportunity. The Blue Jays are an organization on the rise and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
Torey quickly apologized to me for not getting in touch with me sooner. “I couldn’t talk to anyone for a couple of days.” He explained. “I knew what was happening and I didn’t want to lie to anyone.” While the veteran manager is excited to be returning to the Big Leagues, there are some mixed emotions. “It is bittersweet. I loved the opportunity I had in the Red Sox organization, but I am returning to the Major Leagues. That is obviously the goal for anyone in the minor leagues.” Torey and his wife Kristen were looking forward to a second season in Pawtucket. “We had already been planning to return to Cape Cod again during the All Star Break and were looking forward to the annual team outing in Newport.”
This stop will be Toreys’ fourth different city in as many years. His final season in Buffalo was followed with a season in Columbus, then a year at McCoy and now the Majors. Farrell didn’t need to do much of a sales job to get his friend to agree to join him. He knew exactly what buttons to push. “He pointed out how much closer Kristen would be to her hometown, Buffalo, New York and her mother. The Lovullos spend the offseason in Torey’s native Southern California.
Lovullo’s departure is just the latest move in what has been a tumultuous offseason for the PawSox. The death of owner Ben Mondor and the departures of Lovullo and hitting instructor, Gerald Perry to Oakland, will clearly give the old ballpark a new look in 2011. Torey assured me to have faith in Mike Hazen, the director of player development for Boston. “Hazen’s a smart guy. He will hire a good manager to take my place.” After a year with Buddy Bailey and one with Torey, with 5 seasons with Ron Johnson sandwiched in between, I am afraid my luck is about to run out. How many good guys are left??
This should be the final step necessary for Torey to prove he has what it takes to be a Major League manager. He had been interviewed in the past for such openings. The knock was that he didn’t have coaching experience at the highest level. He will get that in the extremely competitive American League East, battling Boston, Tampa and the Yankees on a nightly basis.
Personally, I am very fond of Lovullo. While I am thrilled for him, I feel the same way I felt when Bailey was fired in 2004 and RJ got promoted a season ago. I will miss the rapport we developed and the daily contact, talking about baseball and life. “You know” He told me. “We never say goodbye in baseball. We just say ‘see ya later’. It’s true.” he continued. “Our paths will definitely cross again.” I hope so.