FORT MYERS, Florida – On the eve of the first pitcher and catcher workout on Tuesday, the Red Sox asked another big question by opting for continuity in the dugout.
Less than a month after Alex Cora was fired for his role in the 2017 Astros sign theft program, the Red Sox appointed Ron Roenicke as their interim manager.
63-year-old Roenicke has been Cora's bench coach in Boston for the past two seasons. However, he now has to lead a club that has just replaced his star player and a top pitcher. The MLB's investigation into alleged illegal theft by the Red Sox in 2018.
Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said giving Roenicke the intermediate day is the best way to respect the ongoing investigation. If Roenicke is eventually freed from wrongdoing, the Red Sox could remove the "meantime" from its title.
"We are very confident that Ron can lead this group and how well he is suited to the task," Bloom said at Fenway South on Tuesday.
Roenicke said he could not comment on what he knew about the alleged illegal theft of advertising signs in 2018. Bloom said, however, that the club "has no reason to believe that anything in this investigation will result in a negative outcome for Ron."
The Red Sox released Cora on January 14th. MLB held back to impose a penalty on the former Astros bank coach until the 2018 Red Sox investigation was completed. However, the franchise did not wait and took matters into its own hands.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week that he hoped to complete the Red Sox investigation before the camps opened, but the AP reported Tuesday that this report would not come this week.
Roenicke said he hoped to take a few things off Cora, especially his communication skills.
"I was paying attention," said Roenicke. "Being with Alex for the past two years – I still think I'm a good communicator, but I've really seen a guy who was better than I've ever seen."
Roenicke headed the Brewers from 2011-15. He went 342-331 and reached the NLCS in his first year and only 25 games in his last year.
The Red Sox also reportedly interviewed Carlos Febles, athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay, and Diamondbacks bank coach Luis Urueta for the opening. Roenicke's players are delighted with him and hope that an internal replacement will make the transition as smooth as possible.
"He is incredible. He knows the game incredibly well," said Matt Barnes. "I think it will be nice to have a familiar face with someone who knows the guys, who was there and the experience he has . "