New Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to talk about his transition to Boston and his outlook for the 2013 team.
Lovullo, who coached the Red Sox' Triple-A team in 2010 before following John Farrell to Toronto, said he's looking forward to returning with Farrell.
"I'm part of Red Sox Nation, I'm excited about it," he said. "Initially when it was starting to happen it was a surreal feeling that I was going to have the opportunity to come back.
"It speaks for itself, and it's real. It's something that's talked about by people outside of it. But when you're inside of the circle and you're part of such a great organization from top to bottom -- ownership all the way to the last player on the roster -- it's a pretty spectacular place."
Lovullo returns to a team that has undergone major changes since he was last part of the organization, and he understands the challenges facing the new staff. He said this team is worthy of optimism.
"It should be a really good mixture of guys," Lovullo said. "And moving forward even one step further, to go out on the free agent market and get some really key acquisitions, it could be a really quick fix. I'm not going to make any promises, but we understand that there's a tradition, there's an attitude, there's a mindset. And I know in talking with John, he's going to be moving forward first and foremost in that area, in that aspect, that we're the Boston Red Sox, and it means something. To come in here and play against the Boston Red Sox, you'd better be prepared."
Touching on the team's style of play, Lovullo said Farrell wants to see the Sox offense be aggressive on the basepaths like the Angels and Rays.
"He wants to put pressure on the defense," Lovullo said. "He wants to pressurize the defense, and we all know an infielder is liable to make a mistake because somebody is making an aggressive baserunning decision, an outfielder might pick his head up just to peek at somebody to see if he might be going first to third, and just to put pressure on the defense to make mistakes.
"It's not that we're going to run into outs intentionally. It's that we're going to be aggressive with our mindset so the opposition has to game-plan for us. … From the moment you step on the field there's just a different mindset in the attitude of that team that has to make the outs and make the plays. John likes to take it one step further and say that not only does the defense feel it, but he puts it in his mind from a pitcher's standpoint that the pitcher feels, 'I've got to get this ball to home plate a little bit quicker. I've got to be aware of what's going on subconsciously, and I don't have the greatest pickoff move. What am I going to do?' So, as soon as there's one negative thought, we have the advantage. And that's John's mindset."
Added Lovullo: "It's executed itself pretty well in Toronto. I do want to say, we ran into some outs, but we were also very aggressive. I think we were second or third in the league in stolen base percentage. We did a lot of really, really good things. But I think the fans have to understand: With the good, you've got to take a little but of the bad. And we're going to have more good moments than bad moments."
Veteran infielder Omar Vizquel, who played for the Jays in 2012, made some critical comments about the coaching staff following the season.
"It was a little disappointing for it to come out in the platform that it did," Lovullo said. "I think Omar should have known that if he wanted to say something that was going to get that much attention, that he should have said it internally. John has a great policy of keeping things in-house. The door's always open. There's another baseball cliche, but it really is a true statement. John always welcomes guys to come in there. … Omar's entitled to his opinion. Was it accurate? I would say probably not."