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Francona on D&H: ‘David needs to play tonight’

05.05.10 at 1:45 pm ET
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Terry Francona will continue to get questions about who is playing DH every night. (AP)

Terry Francona called in for his weekly talk with Dale & Holley on Wednesday, and still the No. 1 question is about the David Ortiz-Mike Lowell situation, especially with Lowell swinging a hot bat and Ortiz struggling.

Francona said Ortiz will be in the lineup Wednesday against the Angels, and he explained his decision.

“David needs to play tonight,” said Francona. “We got to give David chances where we think he can succeed to put some good swings on the ball. It doesn’t insure that it is going to happen. I certainly want it to happen. In a night like tonight, David is going to DH. I understand what you are asking. I understand what you are inferring. It’s a long year and we got to try and put guys in a position to succeed.”

Francona also talked about the health of Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron, the decision to send Jason Varitek in Baltimore and how it’s OK not to have a “happy clubhouse.”

To read the transcript look below, but to hear the interview click here.

Does it feel like you’ve managed 999 games in a Red Sox uniform?

It feels like I’ve managed 999 this week.

Number 1,000 is tonight for you.

I actually didn’t know that. I think there is a lot of things I didn’t know.

What does it mean to you?

My first thought is if it’s a 1,000 here it’s probably like dog years and it’s 7,000 somewhere else.

What was your mindset of how long you wanted to stay in Boston when you first took the job?

I don’t I’ve ever viewed it like that. I was obviously excited to come up here. When managers jobs change, not too often are the circumstances that they are here. This job was kind of built to try to win, so I caught a break and I knew that. Things went well and you get to stay and you do the best you can. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about stuff like that. I’ve got my hands full trying to spend my energy on what I can control. Those other things, I don’t think it makes any sense to do that. Someday I won’t be here, for whatever reason, and that’s the way the game is. I can live with that. I just want us to play good baseball. That’s kind of what I need to spend my energy on. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lester and Francona on Pedroia

05.05.10 at 12:24 pm ET
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Lester Press Conference

05.05.10 at 12:24 pm ET
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Francona Press Conference

05.05.10 at 12:24 pm ET
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Remy on D&C: ‘I have a sense Francona will go back to Ortiz’

05.05.10 at 12:18 pm ET
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Jerry Remy

NESN analyst Jerry Remy joined Dennis & Callahan for his weekly segment Wednesday morning, and once again the hot topic was David Ortiz.

Remy said that he thought Terry Francona might go to Mike Lowell in the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s game with the bases loaded and no outs. But he stuck with Ortiz, who ended up grounding into a double play. “I actually felt bad for Ortiz after that at bat, I really did,” Remy said. “That was his spot — bases loaded, time to turn everything around, and it just didn’t happen. You could see he was totally dejected after that.”

Despite another tough situation last night, Remy believes that Francona will still stick with Ortiz in Wednesday’s lineup. “I have a sense [Terry Francona] will go back to Ortiz, although I can’t be 100 percent sure,” he said. “If I walked into the clubhouse today and saw the lineup and saw Lowell in there, it wouldn’t surprise me. Which would mean to me that they’re going to give Ortiz some time off to maybe get his head screwed on straight and try to work out these problems that he’s having.”

As for his potential replacement, Remy said Mike Lowell has the right to gripe about the situation, but won’t do so, at least not publicly. “First of all, because you guys know what kind of guy Mike Lowell is, and he’s not going to say anything,” Remy said. “What he says privately to Tito, we don’t know. But has he earned the right? Of course he’s earned the right. He’s gotten more at-bats recently, and he’s responded to those. It’s a tough situation.”

As for the rest of the team, Remy said it was good for the Sox to come home so they could bounce back from the three-game sweep in Baltimore. “It was nice to come home after that, that’s for sure. Because that is the kind of thing that could linger; it was really an awful weekend. It was just a down team coming back and it looked like a dysfunctional club down there in Baltimore. So it was good they came back home where they are comfortable. They had this little meeting the other day — whatever was said in there I have no clue, but I don’t imagine it was much except that we still believe in you guys. And then they went out and won big that night, so that helped.”

A full transcript of the interview is below. To listen, click here.

Do you think Terry Francona wanted to pinch-hit Mike Lowell for David Ortiz in the eighth inning last night but talked himself out of it?

It’s funny because I asked the camera guy to shoot in the dugout to see if Lowell had a bat, and he did. But apparently it wasn’t for Ortiz. I was wondering the same thing, but apparently it was not the case and he was saving him for a little later on. But the thought did enter my mind and I’m sure it entered Francona’s mind too. But he decided to go with David and we saw the results. I actually felt bad for Ortiz after that at bat, I really did. That was his spot — bases loaded, time to turn everything around and it just didn’t happen. You could see he was totally dejected after that.

We’ve said several times on this program that you know it is bad when you start to feel sorry for an athlete.

It is amazing that he comes to the plate in the first three at bats and gets out and on the way back to the dugout he hears boos. Yet, every time he comes to the plate in a big situation like that he gets a standing ovation. People are pulling him, but it’s just not happening. I personally felt bad for him last night after he grounded out. Because you could tell that was his spot, that’s what he wanted. He wanted to thrive in that spot, but it just didn’t happen for him.

He has alluded to the fact that he is not happy with what people are saying and writing. From where you sit, do you think he is being treated badly?

Well, you sit there and you are being questioned whether you are done, and it bothers you. But I don’t think he is being treated unfairly; I think it is legitimate. He had the bad first half last year and they were counting very heavily on him after a good second half, and he gets off to another bad start. Do I think it’s unfair? No, it’s not unfair. It’s what people talk about all the time. But on the other hand, like you said, there are still people pulling for him because they know how important he is for this team. The questions is now, will he be in the lineup tonight?

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Red Sox vs. Angels matchups, 5/5

05.05.10 at 12:01 pm ET
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John Lackey probably has had this date circled on his calendar for a long time. The new Red Sox right-hander will go up against the Angels, a team with which he spent eight seasons, serving as the face of LA’s starting rotation for part of that time.

That all changed when he inked a five-year, $82.5 million deal with Boston over the winter. Lackey won 102 games in his career for the Angels, none bigger than his World Series clincher in 2002, but now he will be seen as the “enemy.”

Lackey has only faced Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and former Yankee Hideki Matsui in his career, while the rest of his former teammates have only played behind him.

The new acquisition has been solid this year — minus the one hiccup against Tampa — and emotions probably will be high at Fenway when he meets his former team.

Angels starter Joel Pineiro also will be making a start against a former employer, although his stay in Boston wasn’t nearly as long as Lackey’s was in LA. Pineiro appeared in 31 games out of the bullpen in 2007 for the Sox before he was let got to make room for Jon Lester (seems like a smart move).

The righty hooked on with St. Louis, where he had three fairly successful seasons as a starter, and he signed a two-year deal with the Angels this past winter.

Pineiro is 3-5 with a 6.24 ERA in 10 starts vs. the Red Sox in his career, which are very similar to the numbers (2-3  5.76 ERA) he is posting with the Angels this season.

John Lackey will be making his first start against his former team. (AP)

ANGELS VS. JOHN LACKEY

Torii Hunter (36 plate appearances): .265 average, .306 OBP, .500 slugging percentage, 2 homers, 1 walk, 8 strkeouts

Hideki Matsui (32): .286, .344/ .464, 1 homer, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Bobby Abreu (28): .200/ .259/ .360, 1 homer, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

Never faced: The rest of the roster

Joel Pineiro (right) chats it up with new teammate Jered Weaver. (AP)

RED SOX VS. JOEL PINEIRO

David Ortiz (29 plate appearances): .391 average/ .483 OBP/ .783 slugging percentage, 2 homers, 5 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (20): .000/ .105/ .000, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts (1 sacrifice hit, 1 sacrifice bunt)

Marco Scutaro (18): .353/ .389/ .471, 1 walk

Victor Martinez (17): .250/ .294/ .313, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (12): .250/ .250/ .583, 1 homer, 3 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (9): .222/ .222/ .222

Bill Hall (9): .333/ .333/ .778, 1 homer, 2 strikeouts

Jeremy Hermida: 0-for-3, 1 strikeout

Mike Lowell: 1-for-3

Dustin Pedroia: 2-for-3

Adrian Beltre: 0-for-1

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New field adds to Scutaro’s confidence

05.05.10 at 8:24 am ET
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When Marco Scutaro left Fenway Park for his team’s recent road trip, there was an uneasy feeling regarding his defense.

The shortstop already had three errors and wasn’t playing with the kind of confidence he possessed throughout what was considered by some as a Gold Glove-caliber season in Toronto last year.

But two of the more consistent playing surfaces in the American League — the Rogers Centre and Camden Yards — helped get Scutaro’s confidence back, and then came the nice surprise upon returning home: The Red Sox had changed the cut on the infield grass.

“I’m feeling more comfortable. I think with the short grass it’s been even better,” said Scutaro, who hasn’t made an error since April 17. “They cut the grass and I think it’s been better. With the long grass it felt like you had to rush everything. That’s how it was before we left. It’s all about making adjustments. This game is about adjustments.

“It’s just trying to get used to [the field] and make adjustments. I think the grass was what was messing up the ground balls up. The dirt, it’s not that bad. But the grass was thick and ground balls would go all over the place. It feels better.”

Scutaro’s defensive resurgence was put on display in the Red Sox’ 5-1 win over the Angels Tuesday night.

With runners on second and third, one out, and the Sox holding a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, Kendry Morales hit a hard ground ball into the hole between third base and shortstop. Scutaro ranged to his right, took the ball on one hop on the dead run, leaped in the air and threw a strike to first baseman Kevin Youkilis to limit the Angels to just one run.

“That was something, wasn’t it?’’ Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I think off the bat you’re looking to see if the runner can score because the ball is going into left, and we turn it into an out. Yeah, that was huge.’’

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