BOSTON -- The Red Sox have met with 18-year-old flamethrower from Japan, Shohei Otani. The right-hander reportedly has hit triple digits, and has decided to skip the Nippon Professional Baseball draft in favor of playing professionally in the U.S.
"I can confirm that we met with him, but I'm not going to say anything else," general manager Ben Cherington said Tuesday. "He's a respected young pitching prospect in Japan."
The Rangers, Dodgers, Orioles and Yankees are reportedly interested as well.
"I think I will start in the Minor Leagues, but I want to challenge in the Majors," Otani recently told The Associated Press. "It's been my dream since entering high school."
Cherington talked generally about the challenges a young player from a different nation would face coming to the United States and playing Minor League ball.
"This isn't specific to Otani, but I think any young player, teenage players, who comes to the United States, whether they're from the Dominican or Korea or Taiwan or whatever, there's an assimilation challenge. And it's important for us to help them assimilate in a way, become comfortable in a way."
Asked if the Sox have seen video of Otani, Cherington said, "I don't want to get into what we do to try to evaluate players, but he is someone we've talked about."
Lovullo expected to join Red Sox as bench coach
BOSTON -- John Farrell's first-base coach in Toronto, Torey Lovullo, is expected to join the Red Sox as their bench coach, a baseball source confirmed Tuesday.
The rest of the new Red Sox manager's staff is still being shaped. All of Boston's coaching positions are considered open, although that doesn't mean one or some of their coaches from 2012 couldn't fill those roles. Dave Magadan already left to become Texas' hitting coach.
"John and I have started talking about the staff," general manager Ben Cherington said Tuesday during Farrell's introductory press conference. "We're making progress. John needs to have people around him, as he described, that are going to fit the criteria he's looking for. We'll allow him to create that cohesive unit he's looking for and ultimately we're all looking for. One of the benefits of having John as a manager is because of the experiences he's had, he has a really broad network in the game. He knows coaches everywhere, baseball people everywhere. It gives him an advantage in terms of identifying people that will fit into what he's looking for. We'll work together, but he's got to get the people that he wants."
The Red Sox interviewed Lovullo to become manager last year, when they hired Bobby Valentine. Lovullo managed in Boston's organization at Triple-A Pawtucket in 2010.
Farrell, who was introduced as manager on Tuesday at Fenway Park, said the search for his right-hand men isn't in the end-game.
"I wouldn't say were really advanced," Farrell said. "I would say we've got a number of names who are candidates for the roles that exist. Still determining the coaches who were here last year and will they continue to go forward. We're probably in the third or fourth inning."
A former pitching coach and a well-respected one in Boston from 2007-10, Farrell said he won't be standing over the shoulder of whomever he hires as pitching coach.
"I think with any position, I think stability is critical," Farrell said. "I think it's important for the pitching coach to know coming in this isn't going to be a position, because so much has been brought out with the return here, that it's not going to be micromanaged. Certainly, there's going to be involvement, but that person needs the freedom to do his job and to the best of his ability. That's why, to me, it's important to get the most qualified pitching coach available and bring him in here."