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Francona pregame press conference

04.06.10 at 5:38 pm ET

Red Sox manager Terry Francona met with the media before Tuesday’s Red Sox/Yankees game. He touched on several topics, including the four-year extension signed by Josh Beckett on Monday.

Here are some highlights …

On the Beckett signing:

It’s great. I thought they handled it so well. For that to get done the way it did I thought was really professionally done. I remember back when we signed Lackey Theo giving Josh a call and thinking ‘good move’. In a place like this it’s hard to get a deal done like this without a lot of stuff being said. And you never heard a thing about it. I know Theo did a great job but I thought Beckett handled himself really well.”

On how much Beckett means to the team:

“There’s not one person around here that doesn’t want Beckett, I can tell you that. I don’t know if that makes a lot of sense for me to say stuff like that while they were negotiating, but everybody here likes having Beckett around.”

On expectations for Jon Lester:

“We’re excited. He had, the word I would use for this spring is ‘powerful.’ Right from the get-go. His expectations of himself are really high. What we just need to do is get him into that groove where he feels good about himself. Once he gets into that he’s one of the best in the game.”

On what he has told Mike Lowell about his role on the club:

“I think he has a pretty good understanding, but you can’t tell somebody something I don’t know. The one thing we basically told the guys that aren’t starting in our meeting was that you have to be patient. We have three off days. The first 10, 12 days are always difficult for everybody.”

On Clay Buchholz:

“He will throw a simulated game tomorrow. That’s what we decided, rather than sit him out in the bullpen. It won’t a huge thing, just a getting the rust off going into his start.”

On seeing Ryan Westmoreland Sunday night:

“It was great. Again, I understand everybody wanting to ask, it’s just I’ve been trying to adhere to the family wishes. But it was very nice to see him. We tried to, I don’t know if under the radar is the right word for it but keep him sheltered a little bit so he could visit with some players. But it was very nice.”

On the Neil Diamond performance:

“I don’t know if the Red Sox want to hear this, but I actually thought it was Dick Vitale. Go back and look.”

On seeing Pedro Martinez:

“It was pretty cool. I thought that was pretty cool. I thought the fans got to show their appreciation, and it was pretty obvious that Pedro was enjoying it. As he should. I thought it was a pretty good idea.”

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