Farrell has Stage 1 lymphoma; condition treatable
Bench coach Lovullo to serve as Red Sox's interim manager
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell showed emotion and strength while revealing in a Friday afternoon news conference that he has Stage 1 lymphoma that will keep him out of the dugout for the remainder of the season. Doctors told Farrell that his condition is "highly curable."
Bench coach Torey Lovullo will manage the Red Sox for the rest of 2015. Farrell will undergo nine weeks of chemotherapy treatment starting next week, but he fully intends to be back for the start of Spring Training next season.
"It's localized; it's highly curable," Farrell said. "I'm extremely fortunate to be with not only people in the Red Sox, but access to [Massachusetts General Hospital] and all the world-class talent that can handle this over at MGH. It's been a surreal four or five days."
The cancer diagnosis became known while Farrell underwent hernia surgery in Detroit on Monday. Farrell revealed how fortunate it was that the lymphoma was spotted during an unrelated procedure.
"I can honestly tell you I'm extremely fortunate that it was found," said Farrell. "Treatment will begin in the coming days. I want to thank Dr. Talpos in Detroit for being aggressive and decisive and getting the mass out that was found while he did the hernia repair."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with John and his family at this time," the Red Sox said in a statement. "We are heartened by the news that this form of cancer is highly treatable and by the knowledge that the quality of care he will be receiving is second to none. We also know that John and his family are comforted by the outpouring of love and support coming from the entire Red Sox community."
The chain of events started when Farrell threw his equipment bag down in New York on Aug. 6. A hernia is typically caused by a strong rotational movement.
Farrell scheduled the hernia surgery in Detroit for Monday, an off-day after a three-game series with the Tigers. After being released from the hospital on Tuesday, Farrell hustled to Miami to rejoin the Red Sox. He originally planned on managing that night, but he was sent back to the team hotel by team internist Larry Ronan. Farrell returned to the dugout on Wednesday for a 14-6 loss to the Marlins.
"A little bit of a shocker to be told later that afternoon that this was going on," Farrell said. "I never had one symptom before the notification of it. No fatigue, no night sweats, no loss of weight, obviously. No lack of appetite. None of the things that are commonly asked when you're facing something like this. It's been a shocker, but I take a step back. I'm extremely, extremely fortunate to have caught this at this stage."
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was en route to Greenville, S.C., to watch Boston's Class A affiliate when he received a phone call from Farrell on Thursday informing him of the news.
"It took a few minutes to sink in, and then I figured out how to get back to Boston last night," said Cherington. "I've tried to get an opportunity yesterday and this morning just to talk to him as a human being, as a friend, and let him know I'm with him and that he'll get through this and we'll get through it together, and as he said today, he'll get started next week."
Farrell, 53, has managed the Red Sox since 2013. He was also pitching coach for the Red Sox from '07-10. David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, the two players who were also with Farrell during his first stint with the club, stood in the back of the room during his news conference on Friday in support of the manager.
Farrell informed the team of the diagnosis during a meeting several hours before Friday night's game against the Mariners at Fenway Park.
"A lot of the guys were shocked, upset," Pedroia said. "I mean, it's our manager, the leader of our team. We're family. We're together so much. When he starts out by telling us that, your heart just stops.
"Obviously, anybody in that room would do anything for John. We know he's going to get through this, and we'll all get through it together and do anything we can to help him out."
A tearful Hanley Ramirez delivered the news to Ortiz in the training room.
"Pretty much all of us were in shock," said Ortiz. "When they mention the word 'cancer,' it's something that doesn't matter what it comes from, it's going to impact you. We're going to give John the support that we can give him so he can get through this and be back next year, back to normal.
"Hopefully everything goes well for him. We've got a big family around here and definitely when it comes down to health issues, you want to make sure that everything goes OK. The organization has taken a lot of responsibility on that to make sure that John gets through it the way it's supposed to be."
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona spoke with Farrell by phone on Friday afternoon.
"I have no doubt that he will beat [this], probably with one hand tied behind his back," said Francona. "He's so upbeat and he's such a tough guy, and he has so many people that care about him. I just honestly feel like he will come through this with flying colors. If having a lot of people care about you means anything, then he's probably already in a good position."