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The Globe and Mail

Could Jays' next field boss be a pitchers' manager?

Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, left, talks with pitching coach John Farrell as they watch the field prior to a spring training baseball game against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers, Fla., Wednesday, March 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Charles Krupa

In Cito Gaston the Toronto Blue Jays had a veteran manager who tolerated the often whimsical nature of pitchers but whose first love was always with the hitters he counselled on a daily basis.

With John Farrell, the man widely rumoured to be Gaston's replacement, the opposite could not be truer.

Farrell's forte has always rested with the development of pitchers which is probably the reason why the 48-year-old remains high on the Jays pecking order of managerial candidates.

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The Blue Jays have stockpiled a large number of quality young pitchers within their organization and this past season featured a starting rotation where four of the five starters were 25 years of age or younger.

Any new hire with a proved track record of being able to nurture young arms as part of his overall managerial duties can only be viewed as a bonus by a Blue Jays organization that believes it is only a year or two away from being able to contend in the American League East.

Farrell, the pitching coach with the Boston Red Sox, is believed to be on a short list of Blue Jays managerial candidates being mulled over by general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

Since joining the Red Sox in 2007, the Boston pitching staffs routinely rate among the most prepared in the game and Farrell has received most of the credit for the development of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.

Farrell, who in the past has turned down managerial overtures from the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates, has developed a reputation for exhaustive preparation and an open line of communication with all players.

"That's what sets him apart," Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon said of Farrell in an interview last year with the Boston Globe. "He treats everybody the same."

Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale and Cleveland first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. are also thought to be in the running for the Jays job along with Toronto third base coach Brian Butterfield.

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Butterfield reportedly confirmed earlier this week he had not been contacted for a second interview with the Blue Jays, which casts some doubt on his continued candidacy.

If the popular Butterfield does not get the Toronto job look for him to land in Baltimore on the Orioles coaching staff of Buck Showalter. Butterfield has a close relationship with Showalter.

Neither Blue Jays president Paul Beeston or Anthopoulos made themselves available to comment on Friday.

Anthopoulos has said in the past he'd like to appoint his new manager sooner rather than later.

With major-league baseball frowning on organizations making any big announcements during the playoffs, and the World Series set to begin on Wednesday, that leaves a window of Monday and Tuesday for Toronto to make a formal announcement regarding their new manager.

If it doesn't happen then, the Blue Jays will likely have to wait until the end of the World Series, which might not be until after Nov. 4 if the Series goes seven games.

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An interested observer to all this is Bruce Walton, the Toronto pitching coach.

It is felt Walton is the one member of the 2010 Toronto coaching staff whose job is safe when the new manager comes aboard, but he said he has not received any guarantees.

"I think the job we did with the pitching obviously deserves to be recognized," he said. "I'm sure Alex was going to try to put together the best staff he can. And I'm sure I will be considered based on how it went."

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