Farrell fields questions at Winter Meetings

Farrell fields questions at Winter Meetings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In a couple of months, Red Sox manager John Farrell will report to Spring Training with his much-improved roster. On Tuesday he fielded questions on a variety of topics at his annual Winter Meetings news conference.

• The Red Sox are putting their faith in Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo as starting outfielders despite unproven offensive track records from both. Farrell is comfortable that the two will grow into their roles.

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"They're going to have the opportunity to. Again, when we talk about 2015, the emergence of young players every day [was prevalent], and those two guys showed the ability to do that, even though it might have been inconsistent at times," Farrell said. "I think that's where Chris Young's availability to us on this roster helps, and keeping him in the mix allows us to give a breather if needed or when needed.

Farrell looks forward to 2016

"But both Jackie and Rusney, we feel, are poised -- they've gone through that initiation, that transition period. So we're going to need them to produce."

• The day Dave Dombrowski was hired, Farrell had just undergone his first chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Recently given a clean bill of health, Farrell is enjoying the chance to become more familiar with his new boss.

"I think just with the frequency of either organizational meetings, Winter Meetings, player transactions, the recruiting process of a number of players that we were involved with, those have been vehicles for a lot more communication than taking chemo," said Farrell.

"There's been a lot more frequency of interaction, and yet while he's been thoroughly entrenched in supplementing our roster, there's a lot that we have yet to even approach, and Spring Training is one -- how he's been exposed to it or what he's been familiar with in the past. We sit down and meet with every player before camp opens up. I'm not sure Dave has done that in the past.

Farrell on new-look Red Sox

"But it will be an exchange of thoughts and past experiences that will arrive to Spring Training, but beyond that will be certainly how we're playing as a team and the decisions that will stem from that."

• The Red Sox liked what they saw from Blake Swihart behind the plate last season, but Farrell noted one final step that will be important in Swihart's development as a defender.

"The strides are going to have to come in the consistency of blocking. He can be a little hard at times, where he's not controlling the ball in the dirt like you'd like to see," Farrell said. "But that's not because of a lack of effort or lack of work toward accomplishing that. That's kind of the final phase of his defensive efficiency to come along."

• All eyes will be on the corner infield in 2016, when Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval will try to rebound from their tough first seasons in Boston.

"We need them to produce, there's no doubt about that," Farrell said. "And talking to both guys, they're working extremely hard right now to get back to the years of performance that they've had in the past. There's every ability to do that.

"I know Pablo is very conscious of and has expressed disappointment in the way things turned out last year. I think we expected more and certainly need more from them to get to the level we envision ourselves, and that's to contend for a World Series."

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