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Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘Baseball is fun again’

04.08.13 at 9:05 am ET
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Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, hours before the team’s home opener against the Orioles, and expressed his enthusiasm about the team’s strong start.

The Red Sox are 4-2 after taking two games each from the Yankees and Blue Jays.

“I’m very pleased. It was a great couple of series against two American League East teams,” Lucchino said. “I think there’s a lot of excitement about the team, I’m pleased about that. And the team is fun to watch. Baseball is fun again. Let’s hope it can sustain itself here.”

Jose Iglesias is off to a strong start offensively (9-for-17) as well as defensively, but the team is expected to insert Stephen Drew at shortstop when Drew is cleared to play following his concussion in spring training. Lucchino said Drew deserves an opportunity to prove what he can do.

“It would be a track record of productivity,” Lucchino explained as the reasoning for Drew’s insertion. “I don’t think our fans have gotten to know Stephen Drew yet. I think when they see him play and he produces, they’ll understand the dilemma Jose Iglesias has caused us.”

Added Lucchino: “Let’s be excited about Iglesias, celebrate what he’s done so far and recognize that he has a great future with us. And I hope it’s this year at the major league level for the entire season.”

Jackie Bradley Jr. started the season with the Sox after much speculation that the Sox would have him play in the minors for a few weeks in order to ensure they would retain his rights down the road for one more season. Lucchino said the media was fueling the controversy, not the team.

“In our view, we had to start the season well. We had to play the best team,” Lucchino said. “It was especially important this year that we have as good a team on the field these first several series as possible. That made it a no-brainer.”

The biggest concern from the season-opening road trip was an injury to pitcher John Lackey, who grabbed his right arm in pain after throwing a pitch in Saturday’s loss to the Blue Jays. Lackey returned to Boston for tests, and early indications are that the injury is not that serious.

“My information is incomplete, but my understanding of the MRI is that he had a mid-biceps strain, no structural damage,” Lucchino said, adding: “If you watched it you couldn’t help but feel really sad and sorry for John Lackey — who, by the way, is a very good guy. I know the public perception of him may be different than that, but he is a great teammate. His teammates really care about him. You saw evidence of that yesterday in the way they reacted to his injury. So, we’re going to have to wait and see. I think he’s certainly going to miss a start or two, I’m told. Let’s hope it’s not much more than that.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On who will get the loudest ovation during pregame introductions: “I think that John Farrell has a chance to get one of the loudest. I think Will Middlebrooks, in light of his performance recently, will get a very loud one. I think Dustin Pedroia always deserves a loud one. He is, in many ways, the face of the franchise.”

On the 2011 managerial search: “We conducted a search and decided on Bobby Valentine because Bobby was the best of the people that we had available. We had hoped at the beginning of that search that we’d be able to land John Farrell from Toronto. I made a call or two to Toronto and tried to encourage them to allow us to interview John Farrell last year. My good friend up there, [Blue Jays president] Paul Beeston, decided that that would not be appropriate, not in the best interest of the Blue Jays. I teased him about that being inconsistent with freedom of choice, freedom of movement that he preaches with regard to his players and staff. But they made a decision and then we began an active — the proverbial national search.”

On last summer’s trade with the Dodgers: “We got a lot of what we wanted. Ben [Cherington] did an excellent job with the pitchers [Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa], and holding out for both of them. We would have been happy I think to get one. We were really pleased to get two.”

Read More: jackie bradley jr., John Farrell, john lackey, jose iglesias
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