Juan Nieves joins Sox as pitching coach
New manager John Farrell was a popular pitching coach before he moved onto managing, so with Farrell around, Boston’s new pitching coach will have pretty high expectations to live up to. It looks as if the Red Sox ownership and management has found someone who meets said expectations in Juan Nieves. He beat out Rick Peterson, Randy St. Clare, and Steve Foster for the position.
According to MLB.com, the promotion was a long time coming for Nieves, a Puerto Rico native who was most recently the bullpen coach with the White Sox for the past five years. There, he worked under Don Cooper, a highly regarded pitching coach, but also making a reputation for himself with initiatives of his own that helped pitchers grow under his watch.
As for working with Farrell, it doesn’t seem like the two will have any “loyalty” issues (Bobby V, anyone?). Nieves played with Farrell about 25 years ago in the Winter League of Puerto Rico.
“It was great, having a fit, having known John from a long time ago in Puerto Rico, having played in the same team, talking through the years, watching him work with Cleveland when I was with the Yankees,” Nieves said. “We were able to talk a lot through the years and watching what he did, and speaking through Don Cooper and having all of that connection with him was a great fit and here we are.”
Nieves has never served as a pitching coach at the Major League-level before, but he has done so in the Chicago minor leagues. He was a lefty in the Majors for three seasons, going 32-25 with a 4.71 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers.
When Farrell left Boston to manage in Toronto, the Boston pitching coach position went to Curt Young for the 2011 season and then to Bob McClure for the Valentine season. McClure was notably relieved of his duties in August and replaced by Randy Niemann.
The Sox will be looking for consistency from Nieves, and let’s hope he can bring just that.