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Health concerns for Ellsbury, Cameron

04.15.10 at 5:57 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron will be checked in a Minneapolis hospital for an examination of the lower abdominal pain that kept him out of the lineup on Thursday. The team wants to rule out appendicitis (a condition that would require surgery and prevent Cameron from flying) before allowing him on a plane.

Meanwhile, outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury told reporters after the Sox’ 8-0 loss to the Twins that he continues to experience “sharp pain” when trying to take a deep breath. He will be further examined in Boston on Friday.

Until either Ellsbury or Cameron can return, the Sox have only three outfielders on their roster: J.D. Drew, Jeremy Hermida and Bill Hall. That being the case, if both remain unavailable for the team’s return to Boston, a minor league addition would be expected.

Josh Reddick is the only Red Sox minor league outfielder on the 40-man roster. He was not in the starting lineup for Triple-A Pawtucket’s game in Buffalo on Thursday, but PawSox skipper Torey Lovullo told reporters that Reddick was out for a “mental break” following a 4-for-29 start to the season.

Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, josh reddick, mike cameron,

Closing Time: Twins 8, Red Sox 0

04.15.10 at 3:52 pm ET
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The Red Sox had their chances early against Twins starter Francisco Liriano, but after the team stranded four runners (including three in scoring position) in the first two innings, they were overmatched by the Minnesota left-hander from that point on. Liriano tossed seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out eight, and the Twins lineup exerted steady pressure on the Sox pitching staff, collecting 15 hits in an 8-0 win. (Recap.)

Key Play

The Red Sox mounted a scoring threat right out of the gate. With one out in the top of the first inning, Dustin Pedroia singled and Victor Martinez doubled to put runners on second and third with one outs. That brought cleanup man Kevin Youkilis to the plate.

Youkilis typically excels in such situations. In his career, he entered Thursday with a line of .453/.468/.726/1.194 and 117 RBI in 171 plate appearances. But on Thursday, Youkilis struck out on three pitches, the last a nasty slider that he swung and missed. Liriano got Adrian Beltre to ground out to escape the threat unharmed.

Had Youkilis and the Sox jumped on the Twins left-hander early, the game might have assumed another complexion. But with those early missed opportunities, Liriano had the opportunity to settle in and dominate.

What Went Right For the Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia laced three singles, and now has four multi-hit games this year, tied with Jacoby Ellsbury for most on the Red Sox. While April has typically been the worst month of the season for Pedroia (entering Thursday, his career average, OBP, slugging and OPS were all lower in April than in any other month of the year), he’s been great thus far this year, hitting .405 with a 1.253 OPS.

Scott Schoeneweis continued to show promise as a left-handed specialist. Most notably, he punched out Joe Mauer with two outs and a runner on second to end a threat in the sixth. Though Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel later lined singles off of him, he has struck out six of the 10 left-handers he’s faced (while allowing three singles). Schoeneweis did, however, give up a two-run homer to right-hander Michael Cuddyer on a towering flyball just over the left-field fence, a couple feet to the right of the foul pole.

–Bill Hall took a pair of walks from Liriano. Not only was he the only Sox hitter to take a walk, but the game marked the first time since last April 27 that Hall had as many as two free passes in a game. For a hitter who finished 2009 with a .258 OBP, that is somewhat encouraging.

Ramon Ramirez got his first swing and miss of the season, getting a fastball past Nick Punto. The promise, however, was short lived, as Punto doubled on the next pitch. Ramirez did get a couple more swings and misses in the eighth inning, and was credited with 1.2 shutout innings.

What Went Wrong For the Red Sox

–The Twins jumped all over Tim Wakefield, collecting 10 hits and six runs (five earned) against him in 5.1 innings. Wakefield kept the Sox in the game through four innings, in which he limited Minnesota to a single run, but a mix of some bad luck (notably including a Denard Span bloop double down the left field line) and some knuckleballs over the middle of the plate did in the knuckleballer’s day.

–The defense was sloppy. The Sox committed three errors: one by Hall (making his first start in center since 2007) who overran a single, one by Victor Martinez (on a rushed throw to second, which he once again fired high and right) and one by Adrian Beltre.

The team was also hurt by a mental error from Martinez. With runners on first and second in the bottom of the sixth, Denard Span hit a run-scoring double. But Kubel stumbled while rounding third, leaving Span far off of second. Martinez hesitated, then threw behind Span at second. His throw there was late, and it allowed Kubel to race home with a run.

While Martinez has just one error thus far this year, he has performed poorly behind the plate.

–Adrian Beltre got into his second three-ball count of the season when he took a 2-2 pitch with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eighth inning. However, in a situation where a walk would have meant a run, he chased a fastball that might have been ball four, pulling an up-and-away fastball to shortstop for a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. Beltre has now batted 34 times this year without a walk.

–J.D. Drew went 0-for-4 and struck out three times. While all of his at-bats came against left-handed pitchers, Drew has struggled throughout the early days of the season, hitting .143 with a .476 OPS and 13 strikeouts in 28 at-bats.

–With Jacoby Ellsbury already out, Mike Cameron also proved unable to play due to a lower abdominal strain. If those two are unavailable, the Sox bench becomes extremely thin, without a desirable outfield backup behind the outfield combination of Jeremy Hermida, Bill Hall and J.D. Drew.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, bill Hall, Francisco Liriano, J.D Drew

Video: The State of the Sox

04.15.10 at 10:50 am ET
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This week’s Full Count video takes a look at players who are trending up and down for the Red Sox, takes stock of Adrian Beltre’s unusual start for the Sox, and examines one prospect from the Dominican who has a chance at rebounding in a big way this year.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, David Ortiz, michael almanzar, ramon ramirez

Closing time: Red Sox 6, Twins 3

04.14.10 at 4:42 pm ET
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The Red Sox got back on the right side of the scoreboard with a 6-3 win over Minnesota on a rare Wednesday afternoon game. John Lackey earned his first win in a Red Sox uniform and Jeremy Hermida provided a clutch bases loaded double that plated three crucial runs. With the win, the Red Sox will forever go down as the first team to beat the Twins at Target Field.

The Sox have now evened up their record at 4-4, and are 3-2 on the road this season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

-John Lackey strong in victory

Lackey officially entered the Red Sox victory books with another solid outing on Wednesday. The new acquisition went 6.2 innings, only giving up two runs on seven hits. It wasn’t as pretty as his shutout against the Yankees, but he battled and made good pitches in tough spots.

-Dustin Pedroia shows off some muscle

Pedroia kept his hot streak alive, as he swatted his fourth home run of the season against Kevin Slowey in the fifth inning. This is quite the contrast from last year when the former MVP didn’€™t hit his fourth long ball until July 9. Pedroia is hitting .364 with 10 RBI this season.

–Jeremy Hermida proving his worth

It’€™s been a small sample size for Hermida in a Red Sox uniform, but so far it’€™s been very productive. With the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, Hermida hit a bases clearing double to give the Red Sox a commanding 6-2 lead. The reserve outfielder has hit .357, with a homer and six RBI in five games this season. With Jacoby Ellsbury nursing an injury, Hermida has given the outfield a much needed lift offensively.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

-Marco Scutaro struggles with the glove

Offensively Scutaro has been fine, hitting .320 with a .414 OBP, but his field work has been up and down. Two times a ball was hit up the middle and two times the shortstop could not come up with a play. He was unable to coral the ball on a diving play in the bottom of the third off the bat of Joe Mauer, which plated Denard Span. His second mixup came in the bottom of the sixth and may have resulted in Lackey getting pulled in the inning. However, neither plays were ruled errors.

-Mike Cameron struggling

Not a lot has been made out of it because other guys are struggling, but Cameron has gone 0-for-10 with four strikeouts in his last four games. Cameron was hitting .385 after the first game against the Royals, but his average has dipped to .217 on the season.

-David Ortiz K’€™s again

Another day and more talk about Oritz’€™ struggles at the plate. With two more strikeouts on the day, Ortiz has now struck out 13 times in 26 at-bats. Ortiz is hitting .154, and it can’t be ignored when he is striking out half of the time.

He did manage to hit a double to the opposite field in his final at-bat in the ninth inning.

Red Sox vs. Twins matchups, 4/15

04.14.10 at 3:35 pm ET
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The Red Sox will close out their trip in Minnesota on Thursday, and Tim Wakefield will be on the mound trying to send the team back to Boston on the heels of a two-game winning streak after Wednesday’s 6-3 victory.

The Sox bullpen squandered a solid outing from the 43-year-old starter on April 9 against Kansas City. Wakefield stymied the Royals, with the notable exception of back-to-back home runs from Billy Butler and Rick Ankiel in the sixth. Still, Wakefield left the game in line for a win, only to see Hideki Okajima and Daniel Bard falter in the eighth and let Kansas City score twice to steal the victory.

Wakefield had success last year in his only start against the Twins in the first game of a doubleheader on April 22, going seven innings and allowing just one earned run in what counted as a complete game victory thanks to the game being shortened by rain. He had four strikeouts and one walk in the Sox’ 10-1 win, with about the only negative being that he also hit two batters. But the year before he was shelled in his one start at Minnesota, going just 2-2/3 innings and allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits.

Despite that outing, Wakefield has been closer to his 2009 numbers against Minnesota in his career, at least record-wise. He is 14-5 in 23 career starts vs. the Twins and will be looking for his first win of 2010 after going 11-5 last season.

The Twins will counter with their fifth starter, lefty Francisco Liriano. Despite being demoted to Triple A at the end of last season, Liriano earned the last spot in the rotation after he followed a fantastic campaign in winter ball in the Dominican Republic with a 2-0  record and 2.70 ERA in five starts during spring training. He was not as impressive in his first regular season start against the Chicago White Sox last week, particularly having issues with his control. The left-hander let up five walks, but managed to hold the White Sox to just three runs over six innings despite those struggles.

The Sox saw Liriano twice last year  ‘€”the only two times he has faced Boston ‘€” and lit him up each time. In the second game of that April 22 doubleheader, he Sox took advantage of more control problems for the lefty, who allowed four walks on the night, and chased him after allowing seven runs in four innings of work. He fared no better vs. Boston on May 25, when he scattered 11 hits and allowed five earned runs over four innings. Liriano had six and seven strikeouts, respectively, in each game, but that was about all the went right for him in those two outings.

Red Sox vs. Francisco Liriano

Adrian Beltre (20 career plate appearances vs. Liriano): .278 average/.350 OBP/.389 slugging, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Victor Martinez (13): .417/.462/.583, 2 doubles, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Bill Hall (8): .125/.125/.125, 6 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (6): .400/.500/.400, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (6): .800/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Marco Scutaro (6): .167/.167/.333, 1 double, 3 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (5): .250/.400/.250, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (5): .400/.400/.800, 2 doubles, 2 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 strikeout

Mike Cameron (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk

David Ortiz (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Mike Lowell is 2-2 in his career against the Twins starter. Jeremy Hermida has never faced Liriano.

Twins vs. Tim Wakefield

Jim Thome (61 career plate appearances vs. Wakefield): .164 average/.230 OBP/.382 slugging, 3 home runs, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts

Orlando Hudson (23): .217/.217/.435, 1 home run, 3 strikeouts

Michael Cuddyer (22): .227/.227.409, 1 triple, 10 strikeouts

Delmon Young (19): .167/.211/.389, 1 home run, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Justin Morneau (17): .375/.412/.438, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Nick Punto (16): .143/.188/.214, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Brendan Harris (14): .143/.143/.429, 1 home run, 3 strikeouts

Joe Mauer (13): .417/.462/.667, 1 home run

Jason Kubel (9): .250/.333/.625, 1 home run, 1 walk

Alexi Casilla (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 strikeout

Denard Span (4): .333/.500/.667, 1 double

Wakefield has never faced backup catcher Drew Butera or J.J. Hardy.

Red Sox vs. Twins matchups, 4/14

04.14.10 at 9:25 am ET
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The Red Sox did not enjoy their introduction to Target Field on Monday, as Minnesota opened up its new digs with a 5-2 victory. It will be up to John Lackey to try to get the Sox back to their winning ways Wednesday afternoon as he takes the mound for his second start of the season.

Lackey can’t pitch much better than he did in his first start against the Yankees, when he went six scoreless innings and struck out three in a no-decision. Lackey permitted just three hits on the night, and walked two batters.

The Sox starter faced the Twins once last season as a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and was impressive in a 6-3 win. The right hander went 7.2 innings and gave up two earned on four hits, striking out three while walking two. About the only trouble he had was against Twins’ catcher Joe Mauer, who slugged a pair of home runs in that one.

In his career, Lackey has faced Minnesota 14 times and has a 6-5 record and 3.75 earned run average against the Twins. Along with his struggles against Mauer, the right-hander has also had a tough go of it against Michael Cuddyer, who has hit three homers in just 16 career plate appearances against Lackey. Cuddyer is one of seven players to go deep three or more times against Lackey, joining a list that also includes Manny Ramirez (5), Alex Rodriguez (4), Jack Cust (3), Jason Giambi (3), Josh Hamilton (3) and Carlos Quentin (3).

The Twins will have Kevin Slowey on the hill opposing Lackey. Slowey was almost as strong in his first start of the 2010 season against the Angels, allowing one earned on seven hits in 5.1 innings, striking out three and walking two. Slowey got the run support that Lackey did not, however, as the Twins won, 10-1. Slowey, who was 10-3 with a 4.86 ERA last season,  gave the Sox some trouble in his one start against them in 2009, holding Boston to just two runs on six hits in six innings and striking out five in a 4-2 Twins victory on May 27.

The only other time that Slowey has faced Boston came in his first season in 2007, when he allowed four earned in 5.2 innings in a 5-2 Twins loss.

Here are the matchups.

Red Sox vs. Kevin Slowey

Bill Hall (11 career plate appearances vs. Slowey): .200 average/.273 OBP/.300 slugging, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Marco Scutaro (10): .222/.222/.222, 1 strkeout

Mike Cameron (9): .375/.333/.500, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Victor Martinez (9): .556/.556/.667, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Adrian Beltre (6): .600/.667/.800, 1 double

J.D. Drew (6): .200/.333/.400, 1 double, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Mike Lowell (6): .667/.667/.833, 1 double

David Ortiz (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (6): .333/.333/.333

Kevin Youkilis (6): .200/.167/.200, 2 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (5): .400/.400/.400, 1 strikeout

Jason Varitek is 0-2 against Slowey. The Twins starter has never faced Jeremy Hermida.

Twins vs. John Lackey

Justin Morneau (32 plate appearances against Lackey): .233 average/.281 OBP/.367 slugging, 1 home run, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts

Jim Thome (22): .000/.182/.000, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts

Joe Mauer (21): .450/.476/.750, 2 home runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Nick Punto (21): .143/.143/.333, 1 home run, 3 strikeouts

Orlando Hudson (19): .263/.263/.368, 1 triple, 2 strikeouts

Michael Cuddyer (18): .313/.389/.875, 3 home runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jason Kubel (17): .200/.235/.333, 1 triple, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Delmon Young (12): .250/.250/.250, 5 strikeouts

Alexi Casilla (11): .091/.091/.091, 2 strikeouts

Denard Span (8): .167/.286/.167

Brendan Harris (6): .167/.167/.167, 3 strikeouts

Lackey has never faced backup catcher Drew Butera or shortstop J.J. Hardy.

Read More: john lackey, kevin slowey,

Bad day for Bonser

04.13.10 at 9:52 pm ET
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Red Sox pitcher Boof Bonser got shelled in his second rehab outing for Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing nine runs in two innings. He allowed five hits (including a homer), three walks and hit a batter, throwing just 22 of his 47 pitches for strikes.

After the performance, Bonser told reporters that he experienced shoulder stiffness that worsened both by virtue of cool weather and a long top of bottom of the first inning by his team.

“The thing seized up on me and all heck broke loose,” Bonser told reporters. “When you only go two innings and your shoulder feels like crap, especially coming off surgery, it’€™s not a great day. Put it that way.”

Bonser missed all of 2009 after undergoing surgery on his rotator cuff and labrum. The Sox acquired him from the Twins in a trade for minor league pitcher Chris Province in December.

Read More: Boof Bonser,

Vote: Where does Ortiz rank in Red Sox history?

04.13.10 at 3:09 pm ET
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In Tuesday’s column, Kirk Minihane offers his view of where David Ortiz ranks among the best Red Sox hitters of all time. To see his Top 10 list of Red Sox hitters, click here.

Where do you think Ortiz stands in franchise history?

Where does David Ortiz rank among the Top 10 Red Sox hitters of all time?

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Who would you rank ahead of Ortiz in franchise history? (select all that apply)

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Read More: David Ortiz,

Francona on D&H: ‘Err on the side of caution’ with Ortiz

04.13.10 at 1:14 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Tuesday and talked about the Sox’ slow start to the season and the challenges presented by David Ortiz‘ slow start this year. The Sox skipper discussed why he believes it is premature to alter Ortiz’ playing time, including why he does not believe that a platoon between Ortiz and Mike Lowell is appropriate at this juncture of the season.

“You can’t just treat these guys like chess pieces. I don’t think that works. There’s a human element to this, and probably a lot more than people realize,” said Fracona. “If you’re going to make a change, you’d better damn well be sure you’re right. And that’s what we’ve always tried to do.

“I think it’s too early to [discuss a platoon]. David’s been such a mainstay for us both vs. lefties and righties. And I think if you talk to any hitter, for them to succeed against one type, they almost need to face the other side also. A lefty makes a guy stay in there. Now, I understand at some point there needs to be production. Again, these are things that get magnified in the early season that we always talk about at the end of spring, and then when it happens, it still seems to throw people for a loop even though we know we’re probably going to go through it. So, now we just have to live through it and get ourselves into a routine, and get into the grind of the season, and these things will take care of themselves.”

Francona also touched on several other topics, including the fact that he was “alarmed” by the comments of umpire Joe West about the pace of games between the Sox and Yankees, the Sox’ struggles to shut down other teams’ running games and the productivity of the bench. A transcript is below. To listen to the interview, click here.

Against the Royals in the top of the ninth on Friday, with the tying run on first, why did you elect to employ a sacrifice bunt?

‘€œWe’€™ve got the top of the order. We didn’€™t feel like we could steal there. Give it two shots to score a run. A lot of times, we’€™ll start out by showing bunt, and if they want to give it to us on the first pitch, we’€™ll take it. Then if they move the infielders in, we’€™ll swing because they’€™ve sacrificed some real estate in the infield. A lot of things come into play on that. ‘€¦ We talk about that all during spring training. Once we get the infielders to crash, then we really are comfortable letting guys hit. Sometimes it backfires, and you get a guy who hits one right at somebody, but we’€™re just trying to play the percentages.’€

Have your starters not performed up to your expectations or hopes thus far?

‘€œYou start out with the Yankees ‘€“ that’€™s a tough transition from spring training to the Yankees lineup. I think Lester, it’€™s been the Lester we’€™ve seen the last couple of years. The stuff is plenty good, just not quite there as far as command. I thought yesterday, I know you make your breaks, but he was awfully unlucky. I know you make your breaks, but you’€™re going to see a better Lester.

“We’ve just not quite gotten into the flow of everything yet. It seems like in a couple of games we’re an inning short when we get to our bullpen and we have to go to guys before we want to, just things like that ‘€” normal, first-week things.”

Will you have to adjust your rotation when you get into a normal flow of games?

‘€œI don’€™t think so. I think we want to stay on a five-day if we can. Giving guys one extra day, especially early in the season ‘€“ actually, anytime ‘€“ we’€™re OK with that. We’€™re OK with staying in rotation. Regardless of how it works, we try to turn it to our advantage.’€

Do you think that talking to the media has become a problem for David Ortiz, that he’s thinking too much about criticism?

“I think he’s frustrated. ‘€¦ Yeah, I’ve seen that a few times, too. Until he really starts swinging like he can, he’s probably going to have to deal with it, and I’m going to have to deal with it, and we’re all going to deal with it. Because we went through this last year, and because of where we play, it’s there. And there’s no getting around it. It’s tough sometimes. You’d like to always say you have the right answers, and we certainly try to, [but] sometimes we’re searching a little bit, whether it’s the division between loyalty, and how far to go, and who to play, and the loyalty to a player and to your team, these are things we think about a lot, and it weighs on all of us. I was talking to [hitting coach Dave Magadan] after the game last night, because they’€™re down there constantly just trying to work on it, which is good. David, he drove the ball to left field yesterday, which is good. In his other at-bats, it looked like he was still stuck in between. But it was good to see him drive that ball to left-center.”

Does loyalty factor into whether David Ortiz is in your lineup?

“I think all our players have to have that feeling. These are things that I probably fight with myself all year long. I think the loyalty has to be to the team. And through that, I’m hoping that players whether they agree with the decisions we make or not, they understand why. And again, we go back to that we’re always trying to have an atmosphere around our team where guys want to do the right thing. Sure, they’re not always going to agree with the decisions. I understand that. I wish right now we could play two DHs. It’s just not the way it is. We continue to preach to guys, stay ready and stay focused, because you will get a chance and you don’t know when it’s going to be. And if you’re ready, then you’ll be able to help us win.”

Would you prefer not to platoon designated hitters?

“I’d prefer not to. And again, I think it’s too early to talk like that. David’s been such a mainstay for us both vs. lefties and righties. And I think if you talk to any hitter, for them to succeed against one type, they almost need to face the other side also. A lefty makes a guy stay in there. Now, I understand at some point there needs to be production. Again, these are things that get magnified in the early season that we always talk about at the end of spring, and then when it happens, it still seems to throw people for a loop even though we know we’re probably going to go through it. So, now we just have to live through it and get ourselves into a routine, and get into the grind of the season, and these things will take care of themselves.”

Is Ortiz being too patient? Should he be more aggressive early in the counts?

‘€œI don’€™t want to tell him that. I love the fact that he’€™s seeing a lot of pitches. I think there are times when he’€™s not committing to a pitch, and you’€™re seeing some check swings. I think [Magadan] was referring to that yesterday. But I never want to go up and tell someone, ‘€˜Just go up and whack the first one you see.’€™ I love the fact that he’€™s getting deep into counts, because the more he does that, that’€™s going to help him. He’€™s going to get better pitches to hit. We talk sometimes about how if you get a check swing on a breaking ball in the dirt in a fastball count, you’€™ve got to earn the fastball. If you lay off the breaking ball, you’€™re eventually going to get a fastball in the zone that you can handle. I think he’€™s in between a little bit. I don’€™t deny that. But I love the fact that he’€™s seeing pitches.’€™

Are his struggles just a function of the stage of the season, or is this a more serious concern than that?

We have some experience with this. Last year, the first six or seven weeks of the season, David looked ‘€“ he wasn’€™t driving the ball. It was tough. It was hard to imagine him being capable of driving in 100 runs. Then you look up four months later, and he’€™s doing that.

I don’t know if anybody has the exact right answer. But until you do, I’ll tell you what, as a manager you better err on the side of caution. Because you can’t just treat these guys like chess pieces. I don’t think that works. There’s a human element to this, and probably a lot more than people realize. And sometimes we struggle. If we struggle as a team, we’ll get ourselves straightened out as a team. And that’s how I guess I’ve always felt about it. If you’re going to make a change, you’d better damn well be sure you’re right. And that’s what we’ve always tried to do.

The bench made you look smart over the weekend.

I thought our guys did a terrific job. When you bring in a reliever and they give up runs, the manager is either a dummy or he’€™s smart. We try to know what we want to do before hand and be prepared. A lot of time when a reliever comes in and it doesn’€™t work, I probably don’€™t take it as personal as other people want me to. If I felt like it was the right thing to do, OK, maybe someone hung a pitch, that doesn’€™t mean you had the wrong pitcher in there. I thought our bench guys ‘€“ that’€™s tough duty. ‘€¦ I thought our bench guys did a great job, because that’€™s not easy duty, facing Greinke under those circumstance.

How can you improve on slowing opponents’€™ running games? Right now, opponents are 12-of-13 against you on steal attempts.

We’€™re well aware of that. I actually think that our pitchers have done a better job. Yesterday, we had some legitimate chances to throw guys out. We had a 1.21 [seconds time from the pitcher] to the plate. Lester was a 1.23. Victor [Martinez] was a little bit up and to the right, to the arm side, on his throws. The thing, teams aren’€™t stupid. They’€™re scouting us like we’€™re scouting them. If they see a crack or a chance to jump out at us, they’€™re going to be more aggressive on the bases. That makes it more difficult also. We can start trying to pitch out but we really value ‘€“ you’€™ve heard how much I talk about first-pitch strikes and pitching ahead in the count, we value that so much ‘€“ so we’€™ve just got to keep plugging along. Not every team is perfect. We realize that teams, that’€™s one of the way they’€™re going to try to attack us.

Why would opponents throw a high and inside fastball to Dustin Pedroia?

I don’€™t think they always try to, but the other thing is, what you remember are the ones he hits. He also covers the outside of the plate. When you see him reaching down on those breaking balls, spanking one to right-center, you’€™ve got to try to come in and get him off the plate, and every once in a while he hits it. He’€™s just a special hitter.

How’€™s Brad Mills holding up while managing the winless Astros?

Millsy’€™s been great. I was joking with John Farrell yesterday, I looked up at the scoreboard and saw that they were losing and I said, ‘€˜Man, I feel like we’€™re losing a doubleheader.’€™ He’€™s actually been terrific. I think, if anything, no one wants to go through what they’€™re going through, but I think it proves that they’€™ve got the right guy. I’€™ve heard some of the comments from their players, how consistent Millsy is, how upbeat he’€™s been and I don’€™t doubt that. I think that it will prove through some tough times that they got the right guy.

What did you think about umpire Joe West’€™s comments about the Red Sox and Yankees games?

I was actually kind of alarmed. I get all the information from the league and I know how they feel. The one thing I think is misconstrued is I’ve seen the word ‘arrogance’ a few times, or ‘lack of respect.’ That’s not it. Sometimes we’re cited for slow play. I think sometimes we’re guilty. That’s the way it is, and we’ve paid the price. We’ve paid fines, we’ve gotten warned. But when you have a guy that is supposed to have no bias for a game come out and make comments that strong, it actually kind of alarmed me a little bit.

I’€™ve known Joe for a long time. You hate to see something like that come out in public, just because he’s supposed to be the guy ruling the game having no feelings, just making the calls. So, we’ll see where that goes.

Read More: Brad Mills, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Joe West

Video: The Full Count

04.13.10 at 9:30 am ET
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On the first edition of The Full Count video show, Lou Merloni talks with Red Sox center fielder Mike Cameron, Rob Bradford explains his MLB Power Rankings and Alex Speier talks Red Sox farm system.

Read More: mike cameron, Red Sox, Yankees,
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