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Red Sox Pre-Game Notes: Wednesday

03.04.10 at 4:18 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s a late day in Fort Myers, with the Red Sox and Twins preparing to renew their annual epic battle for the Mayor’s Cup. The Red Sox have thus put a fairly formidable lineup together for tonight’s game, with a lineup that features six everyday players and seven players likely to break camp:

Ellsbury, 7
Pedroia, 4
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 3
Beltre, 5
Scutaro, 6
Hermida, 9
Reddick, 8
Brown, 2

Josh Beckett will be on the mound for the Sox. Once again, Sox manager Terry Francona praised the work ethic and commitment of the right-hander.

“He’s solid. He works. He’s accountable. … Players love him,” said Francona.

Francona recalled hearing that Beckett was “brash” when the team acquired him from Florida after the 2005 season, but recalls being struck that the way in which the pitcher committed to his profession in 2006 was a bit different than what he had been led to believe.

Francona thought that the right-hander would pitch two innings tonight, but wasn’t certain of that plan.

A few notes from the rest of his pre-game meeting with the media:

Mike Cameron appears set to play centerfield on Friday against the Twins, barring any setback.

J.D. Drew is still slated to be the designated hitter on Friday.

Casey Fein, who was claimed on waivers by the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon — just three days after the Sox claimed him from the Tigers — barely had time to make introductions and unpack his bags before changing clubs again. “That was a quickie,” said Francona. “How you doing and thanks for coming.”

Tim Wakefield is the scheduled starter for the Sox on Friday. He appears to be progressing well this spring, and showing few lingering effects from his offseason surgery on his lower back. “He’s a unique pitcher,” said Francona. “His three sides coming into this game, he’s been great. Ball’s all over the place. … I think he’s right where he’s supposed to be.”

–Francona said that while it can be difficult to move all over the diamond for a player like Bill Hall, he praised the role player for embracing the responsibility. “He knows our intentions are to get him at-bats,” said Francona. Hall is slated to get starts in the coming days at both shortstop and in right field.

Ryan Kalish‘s aggressiveness on the field drew praise from the skipper. On Wednesday night, Kalish advanced from first to third on a ball that never left the infield, sprinting hard for the extra base when the ball was bobbled.

“Whenever he plays, he’ll be one of the manager’s and coaches’ favorite guys,” said Francona. “He’s like an animal out there.”

Casey Kelly will be making his next start against the Orioles in Sarasota on Sunday. That happens to be Kelly’s hometown, and so his outing will no doubt be a significant event for the young pitcher. Francona thought that pitching coach John Farrell had tried to draw up the schedule to permit just such an outcome.

–Francona joined the chorus of those praising Jose Iglesias for his adjustment to the culture, in particular, his advanced knowledge of English, which he speaks without an accent. “He says he watches a ton of TV [to learn the language],” Francona chuckled. “So do I. It doesn’t help.”

Read More: bill Hall, Josh Beckett, ryan kalish, Tim Wakefield
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