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What’s new with the Red Sox: Saturday

02.27.10 at 7:18 am ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Nothing fancy, just the facts. Here’s what transpired on a day when Dustin Pedroia showed his push-up prowess:

– The Red Sox starters threw batting practice for the first time with rave reviews. For instance …

Terry Francona on Jon Lester: ‘€œI thought he did good. I thought he was a little frustrated with himself the other day on the side day. Today, he felt a lot better. That happens. That’€™s all part of it. there’€™s no way you’€™re going to wake up every day during spring training and feel like ‘€¦ that’€™s just part of spring training. But I thought he threw the ball really well.’€

Francona on the starters in general: ‘€œFor me, the biggest thing is how the ball is coming out of the hand because we really want them to build their arm strength. When they build their arm strength, then they’€™ll get to a point where they can go out and pitch and they’€™re not raring back trying to do more or trying to generate more velocity. They’€™re trying to get to that so then they can be able to command.’€

John Farrell on John Lackey: “Incrementally, another step, increase in intensity. Thought he threw the ball with good downhill angle. His two-seamer had very good life to his arm side. He spun some curveballs for strikes which at this point in cmap that’€™s what we’€™re looking for. We’€™re not looking for the swing-and-miss type, the putaway. It’€™s getting a feel for a hitter in the box and how they’€™re reacting to the stuff that each one of our guys is delivering to the plate. The amount of volume picks up a little bit more today with a full eight or 10 minute bullpen, in addition to the 40 pitches of BP. He’€™s handling the volume well and executing from pitch to pitch thus far.”

Farrell on Tim Wakefield: “We’€™re all encouraged. These first 10 days on the minor league complex, there’€™s a lot of volume guys are going through. Not just the bullpens, but all the other activity we’€™re going through. And he’€™s respnoded each day, and each day gone out, little more refined and arm strength, evident quality of pitches through length of typical bullpen.”

And just for some visual evidence …

And then there was Casey Kelly, who also threw to hitters for the first time in camp

Farrell’s thoughts on the 20-year-old: “Very poised. Very professional approach. He’€™s got genuine confidence in himself, and I mean that in the right way. He’€™s not cocky by any means. He’€™s very respectful. When you see him go about his work, he’€™s not in a rush.  A guy will take a good swing on him, it’€™s not like he’€™s got to come back and make a pitch that much better. He knows the purpose of BP and carries that throughout. He carries himself with a very good air about him and one who genuinely is comfortable with himself, even being in big league camp for the first time.”

Kelly also chimed in on how he’s taking in the whole experience: ‘€œRight now I haven’€™t really gotten a chance to ask questions, I think after my first couple outings I’€™ll ask some questions. Right now its watching how they go about their business, how they do their workouts, how they go about their pens, and just listening to what they say, what they’€™re trying to work on. Just be like a sponge and try to absorb everything up. Listening and watching is the best way to learn, rather than talking I think. I’€™m just trying to keep my ears and eyes open and learn as much as possible.”

The one thing you notice about Kelly is his frame and how it will undoubtedly translate into a pitcher the size of Jon Lester down the road. It was a subject that came up with Francona.

“Standing at secod base during BP saying it will be fun to show up two years from now and imagine what this kid will be,’€ the Sox manager said.

Adrian Beltre, who rolled his ankle while stepping on a baseball Wednesday, was back in the swing of things and participating in on-field activities.

“I’m fine,” the third baseman said. “There was some swelling (Thursday), but I feel much better (Friday).

– In other injury news, Daisuke Matsuzaka is progressing well and may throw his first bullpen as soon as Monday.

‘€œI think he feels good about himself,” Francona said. “I think tomorrow he’€™ll probably try to get out to 150, or 140. They’€™ll need to be a day off in there somewhere. He does feel pretty good about himself. You could tell by the way he was throwing that he’€™s not nursing his way through it.’€

– The condition of Jed Lowrie’s surgically-repaired left wrist has been encouraging thus far, as the shortstop explained, saying “This is the best I’ve felt in a long time.”

To read more about Lowrie click here.

– There were also a couple of solid interviews, from Lester and Jonathan Papelbon, in the Dennis and Callahan Trailer (it was too cold to sit at the picnic table). To read the transcripts click here for Lester, and here for Papelbon.

– And then there was Pedroia …

A day after giving the quote of the day, having gone up to Francona and said regarding moving down the lineup, “Am I a table-setter or the table,” the second baseman made video magic with the First Annual Laser Show Push-Up Contest. Enjoy …

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