Farrell wants different vibe for Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) – Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell addressed his full team for the first time Friday, and it went about as expected.

On an optimistic day at JetBlue Park, the team’s new manager spoke to his staff and players for nearly an hour about moving past last season’s last-place finish, and the issues that left the Red Sox 69-93.

Indeed, the Farrell era is off and running, and with opening day on the horizon, time is of the essence.

“Everything has a purpose,” said Farrell, who replaced Bobby Valentine and is Boston’s third manager in three years. “I don’t want to say there’s a sense of urgency but every day in spring training because of our current situation – new staff, a number of new players – we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.”

Among those new players is Shane Victorino. The St. Anthony High School graduate signed a three-year deal with Boston in December.

After full-squad workouts began, he tweeted: “Day One in the books as a @RedSox …Sun is Setting on what was a great start to camp!”

Victorino is not the team’s only new outfielder – Jonny Gomes is also on board, and said he was impressed by the first meeting.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “I’ve been on a few teams. Just to see how the goals are set here and how everything is demanded to be ran. One of the first priorities over here is to be professional. Says a lot about the organization and the players inside here. So we do that, be professional, respect the game, put some numbers up, I think we’ll be alright.”

Gomes echoed one of Farrell’s few rules for the team: “Be professional.”

“It’s a simple rule,” Gomes said. “(But) it’s not always that simple for people to follow it. If it was that simple, I don’t think it would be a rule. But it’s not kids in here. It’s grown men, people with families, people who have been in the game for a while. But from the success I’ve had, and the winning teams I’ve (been on), that is definitely a motto that needs to be followed.”

Farrell was Boston’s pitching coach from 2007 to 2010 before leaving to manage the Toronto Blue Jays for two seasons. There are still players on the Red Sox with whom he is familiar, but also some newcomers to the organization.

“More than anything, that first conversation, first talk is a way to set the tone, which I think was clear,” Farrell said. “But the thing we want to emphasize is that it’s a matter of what we do on the field and not what we’re talking about. We’re hopeful – and with every intent – that our actions speak certainly more volume than our words.”

Will Middlebrooks was a rookie with the Red Sox in 2012. His season was cut short by a fractured right wrist suffered when he was hit by a pitch Aug. 10, but he was around to witness the chaos and is eager to put it behind him.

“It was great, very positive,” he said of the meeting. “I think everyone came out of it very happy and ready to go. I think everyone’s got a little chip on their shoulder right now, too. We’re kind of here to prove the world wrong.”