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Francona checks in on Red Sox picture day

02.28.10 at 4:43 pm ET

What Red Sox manager Terry Francona had to say on picture day:

Daisuke Matsuzaka threw from approximately 150 feet.

– On Mike Cameron’s groin injury: “Cam is a little sore in the left side of his groin, and with those ones the other day, he’s felt it the last couple of days. Today during the outfield drills he said something to (Ron Johnson), RJ sent him over to me. Because we were getting pretty active with the relays, I told him to come in and get treatment. I don’t think it’s anything. He tested it out, his strength was good, his range of motion was good. But it’s not something we want to make worse now.”

– On Jose Iglesias: “I think the thing that sticks out is the hands, very flashy hands. It’ll be really fun to watch him play. Because the player you see this week won’t be the player you’ll see a couple years from now. It’ll be fun to watch him refine what he’s doing. He’s rapidly learning our game, but our culture. He’s getting a lot thrown at him real quick.”

– On Marco Scutaro’s success relatively late in his career: “He’s worked hard. He got pigeonholed a little bit for whatever reason. I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but he’s not anymore. Good for him. Sometimes you get in a position, they get a chance, and it doesn’t work. They get pigeonholed and have to fight their way through it. He got his chance to play every day, and he did, and he took it and ran with it.”

– On Scott Atchison:  “He’s got a couple years in Japan under his belt, he’s going to fight for that bullpen spot. He’ll be one of the guys directly in the competition for that last bullpen spot, real good outlook, he’s excited to be back. Have not seen him pitch a lot, except for in here. Our pitching coach is pretty high on him, so that goes a long way with me.”

– On new first base coach Ron Johnson: “You know what’s funny though, and I think he kind of said this, It’s not really any different. I remember when he got hired, he made mention of the fact that he felt like he was the sixth coach, or the extra  coach, however you say it. Because it’s not really any different. You give him a responsibility and he goes and does it. But now when we get on the flight, he’ll break with us. I know today when we were taking pictures, he put on his uniform top, and he was very proud. Which is good. But he’s always been a part of what we’re doing, especially down here. So it’s not really that different.”

– On Jacoby Ellsbury: “That’s part of the fun part of having really good players that are young. We don’t know, I don’t want to stand here and say I want him to turn on the ball more, that’s going to cause problems. He’ll just be the player he can be, and whatever that turns into, that’ll be fun to watch. I think he’s going to hit a few more home runs, just from the natural progression, getting stronger, learning the league. Swinging at better pitches. He’ll understand pitchers better, he’ll understand the league better.

“When he went down in the order, and was able to relax a little bit — even though he didn’t want to be there, he didn’t have to carry the load of getting on base, and he really did a good job. When he came back to the leadoff spot, he seemed more able to hit deeper in the count, he wasn’t worried about hitting down 0-2, so he wasn’t worried about swinging at the first pitch, he worked the counts better, so because of that, he got more pitches to hit.”

– On Junichi Tazawa: “We’ll see. If you had asked me that last year, I don’t know if I would have sat here and said, ‘We’ll see him pitching in the big leagues.’ Helping our ballclub. That was a lot to ask last year. I think the biggest thing, if you ask Taz, was that the length of the season was an eye-opener for him. You try to tell people, but until they live through it? He got tired last year. He got worn down. So I think he wants to be able to prove he can pitch through the full year. You saw him last spring, how good he was, we did too. And then the first four months of
last year, he was pretty good. Then he got a little fatigued, a little tired. It was inevitable. You can’t go from the industrial leagues to the big leagues and not have it affect you.”

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