BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Red Sox hired John Farrell as their pitching coach Monday after the staff finished with the fifth worst ERA in the majors last season.

The 44-year-old Farrell spent the past five seasons as Cleveland’s director of player development.

He succeeds Dave Wallace, whose contract was not renewed after Boston finished third in the AL East after eight straight second-place finishes.

General manager Theo Epstein said Dave Magadan is a candidate to replace Ron Jackson, whose contract as hitting coach also was not renewed. He said Magadan, fired June 15 in his fourth season as San Diego’s hitting coach, will start working for the Red Sox next month but didn’t announce his position.

Farrell spent parts of five seasons as a pitcher with the Indians before retiring after pitching in just two games in 1996, both starts with Detroit. He also pitched for California in 1993 and 1994 and had a 36-46 career record with a 4.56 ERA, primarily as a starter.

In Boston, he inherits a pitching staff that struggled with inconsistency, injuries and inexperience. Because of poor pitching by veteran relievers, youngsters Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen pitched more than the team would have liked and went through difficult stretches, especially Hansen. Jonathan Papelbon, an outstanding closer this year as a rookie, is moving into the rotation.

“All three clearly have the physical attributes that you’re looking for,” Farrell said in a conference call. “There’s a core group of young arms that are in the transition stage and really beginning to establish themselves at the big league level.”

As a team, Boston’s 4.83 ERA was 26th in the majors and its 4.51 bullpen ERA was 21st. Relievers had 22 blown saves, sixth most in the majors.

“We were looking for someone who would take a broad view of the job and make a real impact on our pitching,” Epstein said. “He’s earned an impeccable reputation.”

Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Farrell were teammates on the Indians in 1988.

They also spent time together in Tucson where Francona lived and Farrell stayed the first three months of the year preparing for and attending spring training with Cleveland.

Farrell said joining Francona and addressing his “daily competitive fire” to influence games on the field convinced him to leave the front office.

The Red Sox led the AL East for most of the season before falling to second after a loss to Cleveland on Aug. 1, starting a month in which they went 9-21.

They started the season with Al Nipper as pitching coach while Wallace underwent hip surgery.

Epstein called Nipper “a valued member of the organization” and said Farrell would talk with Nipper about the bullpen coach’s job.


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