Lovullo: Fond memories of Toronto

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The booing Red Sox manager John Farrell heard Monday in Dunedin, spring training home of the Blue Jays, is only a foretaste of what he can expect to hear in April, when the Sox go to Toronto for the first weekend of the season.

Farrell managed the Jays for two years, a tenure that some in Toronto have likened to an apprenticeship for the job in Boston. Farrell took the Sox job last winter after the Jays agreed to release him from the last year of his contract, and the Sox sent infielder Mike Aviles as compensation (then subsequently shipped Aviles to Cleveland).

Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo was with Farrell as first base coach in his two years in Toronto. With Farrell in Dunedin, Lovullo managed the Sox split squad playing here.

“I’m sure there are going to be some mixed emotions on both sides,’’ Lovullo said of Farrell’s return to Dunedin. “John will go out there, handle it well, and take care of what he needs to take care of.’’

Another member of the Sox coaching staff, third base coach Brian Butterfield, was a long-time coach with the Jays, and came to Boston only after interviewing to be Farrell’s replacement in Toronto. The Blue Jays rehired former manager John Gibbons (305-305 in parts of five seasons) instead.

“I think Brian Butterfield will absolutely have that place torn down, because they love him so much there, with a standing ovation,’’ Lovullo said. “And deservedly so. He did some incredible things there.

“I don’t want to speak on behalf of John,’’ Lovullo said, “but I have nothing but fond memories of the front office, people on the baseball operations side, to the people inside the clubhouse. They’re my friends. I miss them. I’ll be anxious to get up there to see them.

“However the fans perceive that [situation], it’s up to them. We’re moving on with the Boston Red Sox, and that’s how this industry is.’’