The Boston Red Sox have fired pitching coach Bob McClure, the team announced. Assistant pitching coach Randy Niemann will serve in that job for what’s left of the season.
GM Ben Cherington asserted the decision to relieve McClure of his commitments for the remainder of the season was solely “performance based” and had nothing to do with McClure’s relationship with manager Bobby Valentine, which reportedly was strained.
“This is a performance-based decision,” Cherington said. “As I said (in New York on Sunday), and I think Bobby has asserted, there’s been a really good effort on the part of the staff to work together and iron out any communication concerns that existed previously and this decision had nothing to do with that. We just felt we needed to make a change to put our pitchers in the best position to do what they needed to do in the following 6 weeks.
“We feel the next 6 weeks are important regardless of what our record is. Anything we want to achieve in the following 6 weeks is to provide and create a foundation going into the offseason. We felt this change was required to have the best opportunity to do that.”
The Boston Red Sox rank 11th in the AL in ERA at 4.31; their starters’ ERA is a combined 4.82.
Niemann will be the Red Sox’s 4th pitching coach since 2010, following John Farrell, Curt Young and McClure.
The Red Sox originally employed McClure as a special assistant for the organization last Nov, before Valentine was named manager, but 4 weeks later McClure was named pitching coach. He had spent the previous 6 seasons as the pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals.
Cherington asserted McClure would not stay in the Red Sox organization. Baseball spreads
“We’ve relieved him from his obligations and he’s not working for the Red Sox,” Cherington expounded. “We have great respect for Bob; he’s a quality guy and a good coach. It just failed to work out as we had hoped and when it does not work out, we must look at ourselves first and ask what, if anything, we will do to make it work better, so we’ll do that. The fact that it wasn’t working out, we felt like we wished to try a change and the right thing to do was to get a fresh start, and Bob will get a new start and we expect him to get a chance somewhere else.”
Niemann, also in his 1st year with the Red Sox, was Valentine’s lone hire for his coaching staff during the offseason. Niemann also served under Valentine while he was manager of the N.Y Mets.
“Randy’s got a lot of experience,” Cherington expounded. “He knows our guys well. He’s been involved with our pitching staff pretty closely since spring training and there won’t be a learning curve, that’s for sure. He’s done most jobs in the game, and clearly was a top pitcher himself, and has a long training career. He has got a lot of experience and we feel like to he can be part of the solution to making sure we get lots of good work done from the pitchers for the rest of the season.”