Willis will join the Red Sox for the weekend finale against the Toronto Blue Jays. Before joining the Indiana's Triple A team in Columbus, Ohio, Willis was the pitching coach for the Indians from 2003 to 2009 and Seattle Mariners from 2010 to 2013. Red Sox manager John Farrell was the Indians' director of player development during Willis' time in Cleveland.
Willis inherits a group of pitchers who hold baseball's second-highest team ERA at 4.95.
"[Willis is] someone that I've had working experience with in the past for a number of years while in Cleveland," Farrell told reporters. "Someone who's got, I think, all the attributes we're looking for in the position, someone who's had a lot of success at the major league level with a couple of Cy Young Award winners under him."
The Red Sox fired Nieves on Thursday after the team's pitching staff struggled through the first 28 games. Nieves had been the Red Sox pitching coaching since November 2012.
The Red Sox have lost three straight and eight of their last 10. At 13–17, they are last in the AL East and trail the division-leading New York Yankees by two games.
- Mike Fiammetta