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Farrell sets on-field philosophy for Jays

Farrell sets on-field philosophy for Jays

TORONTO -- John Farrell has been manager of the Blue Jays all of one day, but he already has a goal etched in his mind -- finish top five in the American League in runs and ERA.

It's a formula Farrell -- who after a weekend of speculation was officially announced as the club's manager on Monday -- believes World Series contenders are built upon. A balanced attack of offense and pitching.

"That is our goal, that is our driver," Farrell said. "I think we're fortunate enough to have the direction of [general manager Alex Anthopoulos] to put the pieces in place."

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Having served as the Red Sox pitching coach for the past four seasons, Farrell is well aware of the Jays "grip it and rip it approach." Albeit successful at times, the 48-year-old reiterated on several occasions that he wants his ballclub to produce in a variety of ways, not simply via the home run.

In order to satisfy component one of his objective (finish top 5 in the AL in runs), Farrell wants to improve the club's on-base percentage, as well as bring increased speed to the basepaths. The Jays ranked 12th (.312) and 14th (58), in OBP and stolen bases, respectively.

While Toronto managed to plate 755 runs, good for sixth in the AL, Farrell discussed the importance of producing dependable scoring chances.

"[Regarding] an overall offensive approach, we would love to seek opportunities to create runs, not just sit back and wait for a three-run homer. That all begins with getting on base a little more frequently, to give those opportunities a chance to be capitalized on."

In conjunction with scoring runs, Farrell commented on doing more of the little things -- taking the extra base and sacrificing when appropriate.

While acknowledging that there was plenty of work to be done, both internally and externally, Farrell believes the Blue Jays already have many of the pieces in place to make his philosophy a reality. He specifically alluded to shortstop Yunel Escobar, a player he sees as a cornerstone shortstop moving forward.

Shifting the focus to pitching, Farrell, a former big league starter, thinks the Jays' young four-headed monster -- Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Shaun Marcum, and Brett Cecil -- is the club's indisputable strength. The starters combined for a respectable 3.97 ERA in 2010.

Farrell added the team's bullpen would be a primary focus in the offseason, with several players, including closer Kevin Gregg and left-hander Scott Downs, eligible to be free agents.

"The strengths center around the rotation," Farrell said. "Center around, back to the bullpen. I know that [the bullpen] has the potential to be influx a bit with a couple of guys potentially going the free-agent rout."

At the end of the day, however, Farrell was very optimistic of his club entering 2011 and onward.

"Didn't give me an impression of a one-year wonder by any means," He said. "You see the youth, the talent that is there, and the rotation that I mentioned."

James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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