The most intriguing thing about John Farrell's decision to accompany a scrub-filled Boston Red Sox split squad for Monday's contest with the Toronto Blue Jays is that he could have travelled with the group facing the Tampa Bay Rays, but instead chose to face his former club.

There won't exactly be welcome mats waiting for Farrell at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium before what's suddenly become a very interesting Grapefruit League contest, and the way he's greeted by his old players will be closely watched.

"As a person I like him, as a manager I like him, he never did anything bad or wrong to me," a diplomatic Jose Bautista said Sunday. "You can't blame somebody for having the desire to get to a certain place in his career. At least he said it and made it obvious and made it known to everybody. …

"I would rather him be there doing that, than be with us wanting to be there. I'll go say hi to him, see how he's doing, see how he's feeling, normal chit-chat. And then I'm going to try to kick his ass."

Blue Jays fans would love that, as many are still sore over the way he stated an interest in pursuing the Red Sox's managerial opening after his first year as Toronto skipper, and again following his second, a season that was dogged by rumours linking him to Boston in the final months.