Found February 15, 2013 on Boston Sports Then & Now:
In the days since the Red Sox have opened up camp in Fort Myers we’ve heard a lot about the past.  The lingering feelings over what happened at the end of 2011 and the entirety of last season.  We’ve heard about the guys who are or aren’t being leaders, taking responsibility for the previous seasons, pulling their weight in the training room, etc.  If you weren’t any wiser you wouldn’t even realize that there is an entirely new coaching staff with the Red Sox.  One that is much more youthful than previous regimes.  No one is talking about the new guys in charge. New pitching coach Juan Nieves confers with Ryan Dempster Let’s start with 48-year old pitching coach Juan Nieves who becomes pitching coach-turned-manager John Farrell’s de facto protege.  Nieves had an arm injury derail his major league playing career in only his third season.  He became an instructor in the Yankees organization a few years after that and worked in that role with the Yankees and White Sox before becoming the bullpen coach for the White Sox in 2008.  He worked under manager Ozzie Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper for most of his five seasons in Chicago before Farrell poached him to become his pitching coach in Boston.  Nieves will now work with Farrell to help make a pitching staff that has lost its way since Farrell’s exit into a productive unit.  People who think that Nieves will be just a paper pitching coach while Farrell does the job are mistaken as it’s not that easy to wear the two hats in baseball.  He’ll have himself a good instructor to help out in spring training in Pedro Martinez but this will be Nieves’ staff come the regular season.  If he can handle this unit, particularly the front 3, then the team has a chance to contend. 47-year old Torey Lovullo will be the Red Sox’ bench coach.  Lovullo has already had experience managing as he spent a year as the manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox.  He’s also interviewed for major league managerial spots with the Red Sox (in 2011) and the Blue Jays (last season).  He spent 2 years with the Jays as the first base coach with Farrell and was his pick to be his bench coach for the Red Sox when Farrell envisioned getting the job as far back as when he was on the Sox staff previously.  Lovullo will be able to raise his profile big time by being the bench coach and handling the chores of running the Red Sox’ spring training practices starting this weekend as well as being Farrell’s right-hand man in the Red Sox turn-around project.  Lovullo will have some familiarity with some of the Red Sox players from his time in the Sox’ minor league season.  It’s safe to say that if all goes well for Lovullo and the Sox in the coming years he’ll will find himself at the end of a bench running things for another major league club. New hitting coach Greg Colbrunn is only 43 years old The baby of the Red Sox new staff is 43-year old hitting coach Greg Colbrunn.  Colbrunn enjoyed a long playing career as a journeyman catcher and has spent the past few seasons as part of the New York Yankees’ minor league coaching staff.  Colbrunn is by far the least polished coach on the new  staff but he brings smarts, savvy, and an affinity for the numbers, all traits that the Red Sox front office loves, to perhaps the most important coaching role in the Red Sox new regime.  He’ll have big shoes to fill taking over for Dave Magadan who had a successful 8-year run in Boston.  Colbrunn might be the biggest risk move that the Red Sox made in their new coaching staff but if his reputation precedes him in his new rule it could be a risk that reaps great rewards.  Of course he’ll be aided by a Red Sox lineup who will likely produce it’s share of runs as it usually does, through the good times and the bad. New bullpen coach and former Red Sox bullpen catcher Dana Levangie is also 43.  Lovullo’s replacement as PawSox manager and new 1st base coach Arnie Beyeler is 48.  Colbrunn’s assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez is 51 and the grandpa of the group is 3rd base coach Brian Butterfield at the ripe old age of 54.  The skipper himself doesn’t turn 51 until this coming August.  When you look around the league the Red Sox have a comparably young staff which is interesting being in the baseball hot-bed that is Boston.  Is it a good thing or a bad thing?  There are arguments that could be made for either side. Perhaps what’s best for this young new Red Sox staff is how under the radar they will be going into the season.  The pitchers and catchers reported last week and the whole roster is there now yet you’ve barely heard a word about any of these guys.  While the media and the fans continue to wallow in the misery of the past two seasons the guys that weren’t there will fly under the radar.  That would include the entire new staff.  It’s no doubt a tough situation for these guys to come into but after all of the turmoil of the past few seasons maybe a younger, fresher set of eyes will do the organization some good.  And who better to provide those set of eyes than those who won’t have all those eager eyes in Boston upon them? Follow me on Twitter
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