Farrell, Lovullo returning to Sox in '16

Dombrowski has faith in accomplished manager; interim skipper signs two-year deal

Farrell, Lovullo returning to Sox in '16

CLEVELAND -- A few hours before the final game of the regular season, the Red Sox put their support behind John Farrell, announcing the manager will return to his post for 2016 provided his recovery from Stage 1 lymphoma goes as hoped.

In addition, bench coach Torey Lovullo -- who has filled in for Farrell since Aug. 14 -- signed a new two-year contract to remain with the Red Sox. As part of the agreement, Lovullo agreed not to pursue any managerial openings in 2016.

The return of Lovullo gives the Red Sox some security in the event Farrell isn't ready for the start of next season.

Farrell underwent his final round of chemotherapy treatment in Boston earlier this week and will have a scan in three weeks, at which time the hope is that he'll be deemed cancer free.

It was a unique situation for Dave Dombrowski, who was hired by the Red Sox as president of baseball operations on the same day Farrell had his first chemotherapy treatment.

"At some point, we needed to move forward and kind of set where we're going into the future," said Dombrowski. "I called John yesterday, and when we've had conversations, all of our conversations that we've had, which haven't been as numerous as would normally be the case if he was healthy of course, have always been towards 2016. But I never really gave him that 100 percent that [he was coming back]. I had always given him the indication, but needed to be in a position where it basically closed that loop. Yesterday, I called him back and said we're ready to step forward to do this."

Dombrowski first approached Lovullo a couple of weeks ago about the scenario of signing a new two-year deal with Boston in which he'd give up the right to manage another Major League club in the first year. He told Lovullo that if he decided to leave the Red Sox to pursue an opening, there would be no hard feelings.

"This was the situation as we presented, and he's a very loyal person who decided that's what he wanted to do," Dombrowski said.

Lovullo -- whose stock clearly rose in recent weeks as the Red Sox played well (28-19) under his leadership -- ultimately chose loyalty to Farrell and to the organization over trying to get one of the managerial jobs that will open in the coming days.

"Like I said, I'm a processer, so I got as much information as I possibly could, and I thought about a lot of things," Lovullo said. "That was one of the main reasons, is that I want to see that process through. I want to be here for John, I want to assist John in any way I possibly can, and I want to make sure it lines up the way it's supposed to line up before I ran out on him, is how I'm looking at it."

Although the Red Sox felt the time was right to move forward with Farrell, Dombrowski expressed how the manager's timeline for returning to the bench remains fluid.

"What doctors have told me a couple of times that I've talked to people, when you go through what John is going through, which is, of course, major, the feelings are that 97 percent of the time, you come through from a health perspective on this," said Dombrowski. "Sometimes you don't feel up to 100 percent for three to six months, is what people tell me. I do know that. I'm just telling you what the doctors have told me."

Dombrowski was hired by the Red Sox on Aug. 18, and he wasn't able to evaluate Farrell as he would have under normal circumstances. So how did he know going forward with Farrell was right for the organization?

"I think that's a fair question," said Dombrowski. "I think the reality is, I haven't had a chance to evaluate John at all as a manager. He's managed successfully at the big league level. He did win a world championship in 2013. And so I think that in reality, it's hard to find established Major League managers that have won.

"I've talked to a lot of people that I trust. I look forward to working with him, and hopefully with us working together. I think he deserves that opportunity to do so. I guess time will tell, but I think he has proven to himself that he can win at the Major League level. It's hard to find those type of guys. But the reality, if you're asking me, I can't tell you I've had a chance to sit and work with him and evaluate.

"He's a knowledgeable baseball person. He's well-respected within the baseball community. But I can't say it's based on anything I've observed because it's not, other than really coming to the conclusion that I think it's the right thing to do from an organizational perspective. He's won before. He's deserved it. And we look forward to us bouncing back in 2016 with him as our leader."

It was a sentiment that was echoed in the clubhouse.

"That's the thought the players had all along," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "We're hoping that John recovers what he's going through, and we can't wait to get him back. It's going to be good to have John back healthy and around the guys again. That's' everyone's first concern, health. We want him to be back to normal and be fine. If he is, obviously he's going to be our manager."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.