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Farrell returns to Boston as manager on 3-year deal

(Reuters) - John Farrell's widely anticipated move to the Boston Red Sox as their new manager on a three-year contract was formally announced by the Major League Baseball (MLB) team on Sunday.

Farrell, a pitching coach at the Red Sox from 2007-10, returns to Fenway Park after two seasons in charge of the Toronto Blue Jays, where he compiled a 154-170 record.

In exchange for Farrell and right-handed pitcher David Carpenter, Toronto will receive shortstop Mike Aviles from Boston.

"I'm extremely excited to be returning to the Red Sox and to Boston," Farrell said in a statement. "I love this organization. It's a great franchise in a special city and region, with great fans, and we want nothing more than to reward their faith in us."

The 50-year-old takes over from Bobby Valentine, who was fired by the Red Sox earlier this month after just one season in which Boston went 69-93 to finish bottom of the division.

World Series champions twice in the last eight years, the Red Sox finished 26 wins behind the division champion and rival New York Yankees.

Valentine was hired by the Red Sox last year to replace Terry Francona, who left the club following one of the greatest late-season collapses in MLB history.

Leading their division by nine games heading into the final month of the season, the Red Sox lost 20 of 27 games to miss out on the playoffs, a misery compounded by their pre-season status as favorites to win the World Series after a massive spending spree and a $161 million payroll.

"John has been a major league pitcher, front office executive, coach, and manager," Boston general manager Ben Cherington said.

"His broad set of experiences, and exceptional leadership skills, make him the ideal person to lead our team. I have known him in various capacities throughout my career, and I hold him in the highest regard as a baseball man and as a person."

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Simon Evans)

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