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Red Sox hire Nieves as pitching coach
Juan Nieves will be the Boston Red Sox's fourth pitching coach in three years, and he'll attempt to revive a staff that has gone from being dominant to being a symbol of the team's problems in recent seasons.
The team announced that Nieves would be the pitching coach under new manager John Farrell, whose departure from the pitching coach role following the 2010 season led to the carousel on the job.
Farrell, who left to become the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, was replaced by Curt Young in 2011. Young was fired after the Red Sox collapsed down the stretch that year, with the team's starting pitchers accused of eating fried chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse during games when they weren't pitching.
Bob McClure began this year as the pitching coach, but he was fired and replaced by Randy Niemann in August. The Red Sox finished the season ranked 27th in the majors in ERA (4.70) despite a starting staff that featured Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and, until he was traded in August, Josh Beckett.
Among the staff's other problems, hard-throwing Daniel Bard flopped in a move from the bullpen to the rotation. He was sent down to the minors, then returned and struggled mightily in a relief role.
The Red Sox traded for Andrew Bailey last winter and planned to have him take over for departed free agent Jonathan Papelbon as the closer. However, Bailey hurt his thumb in spring training and missed most of the season. Fill-in closer Alfredo Aceves was largely ineffective, and he was one of numerous Boston players who feuded with manager Bobby Valentine, who was fired after the season.
Nieves, a former major league pitcher who threw a no-hitter with the Milwaukee Brewers, has worked as the Chicago White Sox's bullpen coach for the past five seasons. He also served in the White Sox's minor league system for nine years as a pitching coach.
ESPN.com reported that Farrell was set to hire veteran pitching coach Rick Peterson but instead went with Nieves. Peterson most recently was the Baltimore Orioles' minor league pitching coordinator.
Other candidates who interviewed for the job included Miami Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire and Kansas City Royals bullpen coach Steve Foster.