BOSTON — Ten weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell was given a clean bill of health by doctors and cleared to resume regular activities to the extent his body will allow.
"The news … is a huge relief to me," Farrell said in a conference call with reporters on Friday, one day after the Red Sox announced that his cancer was in remission. "It beat me up a little bit physically, but right now I’m feeling pretty darn good."
The 53-year-old manager of Boston’s 2013 World Series championship team, Farrell was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Aug. 14 and immediately took a leave of absence from the team. Bench coach Torey Lovullo took over in his absence, managing the team to a 28-20 record the rest of the way.
New president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced on the final day of the season that Farrell would be back next year. Lovullo was convinced to forego a chance to manage elsewhere to remain as bench coach.
"It says a lot about Torey’s commitment here," Farrell said.
Farrell said he watched every game; he was at the ballpark for all of the home games, watching the first six or seven innings before heading home. He said he was in daily communication with Lovullo and the front office, participating in all of the major decisions.
"You go from almost 100 mph down to a screeching halt. It’s out of your control, in that you can’t continue on in the capacity you were," Farrell said. "This has, in many ways ben a life-changing, event."
Farrell said he considers himself fortunate that the cancer was caught early, during hernia surgery. He underwent eight weeks of chemotherapy, a program that was accelerated because of the aggressiveness of the cancer.
But the manager said he didn’t lose any weight and he never vomited from the treatment. He thanked his doctors and the Red Sox owners and organization for supporting him.
Farrell said he heard from Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, who have both been diagnosed with cancer. Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona reached out to Farrell every day.
But the biggest surprise was hearing from all of the Yankees fans. Although they "were very clear to say how much they didn’t like the Red Sox," Farrell said, they wished him well.
"I would never expect to get letters from die-hard Yankees fans, sitting in this office and in this ballpark," he said. "It certainly gives you a boost."