John Farrell addresses speculation

BOSTON -- Toronto manager John Farrell, as expected, answered a battery of questions regarding speculation that he could succeed Bobby Valentine as Red Sox manager, reiterating that he is under contract with the Jays through the 2013 season while expressing empathy for the embattled Valentine.

"There's a lot of speculation obviously," Farrell said. "As I said last week in Toronto, I'm the manager of the Blue Jays. This is where my focus and my commitment is. I'm under contract. That's obvious. If I wasn't I wouldn't be sitting here today.

"But at the same time, we've dealt with a lot of challenges ourselves. I understand the natural connections because I worked here in the past. My focus is clearly on the Blue Jays."

Here are the highlights of his pregame media session:

Responding to the suggestion that many fans would like to see him become manager here:

"I don't know that. Again, I don't look at other situations because my focus is here. I tell you we've got a lot of challenges ourselves and getting guys back on the field. I can tell you this: Knowing what the Red Sox have gone through, with the amount of players they've lost to injury, I can empathize with Bobby and having to deal with a lot of changes to the roster. And because of that change you're always trying to filter in new guys and get an understanding of what their capabilities are and how you can best utilize them to win a ballgame.

On whether he expected so much media in Boston on Friday:

"I don't know if you can fully anticipate anything. You understand there are articles written, there are things out there. But in respect to everyone involved, my focus is right here on this dugout and this uniform."

Have the Blue Jays held discussions with him regarding his future beyond 2013?

"You're putting the cart way before the horse with that. My contract is through 2013. My approach day in and day out doesn't hinge upon my status. Like I said, my attention and focus is right here."

On Terry Francona, whom he served as pitching coach for four seasons:

"He was a very successful manager. He balanced a lot of things both inside and out. He did a very good job. History and the record speaks to that.

"Through it all, one thing Tito always talked about was be true to yourself, and as long as you can look yourself in the mirror and did what you felt was the right thing to do, and that being the players come first. And as long as you keep the players first in your decision-making and your thoughts toward them, inevitably you're probably guided in the right direction to the right thing."

On working in Boston:

"There's a tremendous fan base, very passionate. The expectations are always very high, but as a competitor that's what you aspire to do and be involved in."

On how he viewed the current situation in Boston:

"I have empathy for what's going on. We've dealt with a totally equal number of injuries to marquee players, key players. You have to deal with the challenges."

On whether he feels for Valentine:

"As a manager, yes. We've had a lot of the same situations unfold. It's not easy. Definitely not easy. We came in here today with our rotation mapped out, but you're just waiting for the next call, and as it turns out, J.A. Happ is out.

"You're not only dealing with Plan A or B, both teams are on about plan T or U. That's kind of where we're at."

On his relationship with Sox management while he was here, and on what terms he left:

"I had the fortunate ability to work with guys I respect, guys I had history with even prior to working here in Boston. Whether it was Mike Hazen and I running the farm system in Cleveland, not only are they professional colleagues on some level they became personal friends. We had success. We shared a lot of challenges along the way. That's what you would hope takes place."