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Dan Duquette on D&C: Johnny Pesky was ‘great ambassador’ for Red Sox

08.14.12 at 9:28 am ET
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Former Red Sox general manager and current Orioles general manager Dan Duquette made an early morning appearance Tuesday on the Dennis & Callahan show as the two teams prepare for a three-game series starting Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

Duquette, who was with the Red Sox from 1994 to 2002, talked about the team’€™s struggles this season. The Red Sox are 57-59 going into Tuesday’€™s series, 5 1/2 games behind the Orioles, who occupy the second Wild Card spot.

‘€œThey have a great lineup,’€ Duquette said of the Red Sox. ‘€œI don’€™t know if their starting pitching is as strong as they had envisioned it. When your starting pitching isn’€™t a foundation for your team, it’€™s tough to overcome.’€

With Carl Crawford‘€™s impending Tommy John surgery, there is a lot of talk, given the Red Sox’€™ struggles, of shutting him down as soon as possible to get the surgery done so he’€™s fully healthy for the beginning of next season. Asked, as a general manager, when he knows to throw the figurative white flag, Duquette said this season’€™s new second Wild Card spot adds a completely different dynamic than ever before.

‘€œA lot of that has to do with how your team playing and how far you’€™re out of the race,’€ Duquette said of throwing a white flag. ‘€œWith this new Wild Card race, you see all of these teams in the race. I mean, there’€™s like five teams neck and neck. And that gives hope to another town, another city that you can get into it.

‘€œIt’€™s there if you can get it going. If you can get your pitching going and reel off 10 wins, you’€™re still in the hunt.’€

The conversation shifted to former Red Sox and pitcher Derek Lowe, who pitched with the Red Sox during Duquette’€™s run as a GM in Boston. Despite a wish to return to the Red Sox after being waived by the Indians recently, Lowe signed with the Yankees.

On Monday, he made his debut with them, throwing four scoreless relief innings en route to his first save since 2001, when he was still primarily a closer with the Red Sox under Duquette’€™s watch.

‘€œI like Derek Lowe,’€ Duquette said. ‘€œI see he pitched a good game last night. He just had a little mechanical work to do. But I know the Yankees liked Derek too because they had a couple chances at him and they didn’€™t sign him, and he went on to have some good years, but I like Derek Lowe. I talked to him last week.’€

Duquette, who was very familiar with Johnny Pesky, the longtime Red Sox staple who passed away at 92 on Monday, shared his thoughts on him as well.

‘€œI loved Johnny Pesky and I think Red Sox fans did everywhere,’€ Duquette said. ‘€œHe was a great ambassador and just a terrific representative for the team. Johnny had a terrific run. You don’€™t see that very often, that a man will identify with one team for his whole career, but Johnny did it with the Red Sox and I know we’€™ll all miss him.’€

Duquette was asked about the incident in 1997, when Pesky, who used to always sit in the Red Sox dugout during games, was ordered to leave by Duquette, which caused local controversy. Duquette said that it was done through a demand from then-manager Jimy Williams, and that looking at the situation in retrospect, he would have done it differently.

‘€œThat was really something the manager wanted to do and I did it for him,’€ Duquette said. ‘€œJohnny spent a lot of time in the dugout, but at that point in his career, there were some other things he could do to help the club.

‘€œI’€™m sure we could have handled it a little better, but that’€™s water under the bridge. Johnny had a great, great run with the Red Sox and he helped a lot of people there.’€

Read More: Dan Duquette, Derek Lowe, Johnny Pesky, Red Sox
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