Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Tuesday that fired pitching coach Bob McClure was the best available pitching coach at the time he interviewed him for the job last winter. Valentine detailed the hiring process before Tuesday's series opener with the Angels, the first game Randy Niemann will take over as primary pitching coach of a staff that is 11th out of 14 teams in the American League with a 4.30 ERA.
"The hiring, first time I saw him, I met in the hallway downstairs. I was going into Ben's office after I was hired. He was hired as a scout at the time. I think about three days later, we were putting together a list. I don't think he was on the first list. And then after we narrowed down the first list, he got on the second list and then he came in and interviewed with everyone."
McClure also interviewed with general manager Ben Cherington and other front-office executives before being hired in January.
"I liked the interview," Valentine said. "I continued to interview people and we were running out of time and he was the best candidate out there that I felt, and Ben felt and whomever else was interviewing I think felt. If that means he was my choice, he was my choice. I didn't have someone I was going to take, over him."
Valentine acknowledged that the personal and working relationship with McClure was the biggest challenge the pair faced in their time in Boston.
"Bob's been in the game a long time," Valentine said. "He's a real good baseball guy, a very good person, a very good guy. Obviously, coming into a new situation, there were adjustments that he and I were making as the year went on. I thought we were making them. At this time, with six weeks to go, we thought just a little different voice in the clubhouse would make a little difference."