Farrell 'energized' to return to Spring Training

Red Sox manager reflects on recovery from cancer treatment, looks ahead to camp

Farrell 'energized' to return to Spring Training

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There was probably no one more appreciative of taking part in Thursday's reporting date for Red Sox pitchers and catchers than manager John Farrell, who missed the final six weeks of last season as he recovered from lymphoma.

Watching Farrell and listening to him these days, it's hard to believe that just a few short months ago, he was undergoing chemotherapy treatments that left him sapped of his energy.

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"Spring Training in and of itself is a great time to get back on the field," said Farrell. "In my case, yeah, missing a couple of months, but to get back with our staff, to get back with a very talented and exciting group of players, this has got a little bit different meaning given what's been experienced. But I'm energized, I feel great and I'm looking forward to it."

After consecutive last-place finishes, Farrell might have felt pressure if he had come into this season under more typical circumstances.

"Collectively, we all know that getting off to a good start would go a long way," said Farrell. "If that's to suggest there's a tentative nature to my position or my status, I don't look at it that way. No one wants to win more than I do. Yet we all recognize the last two years have not met our own internal expectations, or certainly my own.

"It doesn't change the intensity or the thoroughness that you go about each and every day. We just want to put every guy in a position to succeed, and that should allow us as a team to hopefully get off to a good start."

Sure, Farrell wants to win as much as ever. But his appreciation for the job -- and for life itself -- has changed.

"Well, it causes you to slow down a little bit and maybe see some of the smaller things in life a little bit more clear," Farrell said. "Your awareness to your surroundings becomes heightened. You appreciate every day more than you have. It goes back to the relationships you have with people and the fortunate ability to be involved in a great game with a great organization."

After a largely frustrating summer of 2015, the Red Sox happened to play their most inspired baseball of the season in those final six weeks, when interim manager Torey Lovullo filled in for Farrell.

Though Lovullo might have been able to land a manager's job last winter, he instead agreed to come back as Farrell's bench coach.

"Well ... he had a choice to remain here," Farrell said of Lovullo. "I think his choice, by staying here, represents a number of things. One, this is a special place to work. Two, Dave [Dombrowski] and the organization stepped up to keep him here.

"But we don't run from what might be speculated. Torey and I have had a number of candid conversations. I think our players understand and know the relationship that Torey and I have. That's not to replace our need to get out and perform well. I don't look at it as a distraction; I don't think of it as an awkward situation. I went through treatment for cancer -- that might be a little bit uncomfortable for some. But I can't see our working relationship taking away from our focus."

The players are pleased to see their leader back at full strength.

"It's great. It was tough seeing him towards the end of the year last year. He just didn't have any energy. He wasn't himself," said utility man Brock Holt. "To have him back feeling healthy, and back to being energetic in the weight room working out and running and doing the stuff he normally does, we're happy to have him back and fortunate for Torey to back as well. They're a 1-2 punch. To have them at the helm leading us, and having both of them in the dugout again at the same time, it's only going to help us."

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.