Friday, February 13, 2009

A Quiet Start To Red Sox Spring Training...Terry Francona's Thoughts

The most exciting event for Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona so far down in Fort Myers was his hole in one yesterday at the golf course. He had witnesses, too! Good for him...maybe that's a good sign of things to come. Tito did have a few things to say that are baseball related. First up are his thoughts about Big Papi David Ortiz. My comments will follow...

"Some guys have laid some eyes on him in the Dominican Republic and he looks tremendous," Francona said. "I'm excited to see David because that would be great news for us."

How about third baseman Mikey Lowell?

"(He's been on ) a little bit of a slower program at the beginning of camp. I don't think that's earth-shattering. Again, the idea is to get him ready for Opening Day. That's a pretty legit timetable. It doesn't have to be that day or the day before. The idea is to get him back, and once he's back, getting playing consistently like he can, so I don't like to put an artificial date on it. I think he'll be fine, Francona said."

Tito also mentioned the already infamous Manny Ramirez book that I wrote about yesterday. Just scroll down if you missed it. Here are his comments...

"I was asked last night about it and I saw some excerpts," Francona said. "In what little I did see, it sounded like the book shouldn't have been in the non-fiction area of Barnes & Noble. My recollection of some of that isn't anywhere close to his. And that's disappointing. And I think it was obvious over the years we bent over backwards to be fair not just with Manny, but with all of our players," he said, "while at the same time having them understand that they need to be accountable for their actions . . . I don't apologize for anything that happened. I thought we did the best we could."

I guess the best wasn't good enough for "Sir" Manny. What a douche. Lastly, here are Tito's thoughts about the resigning of team captain Jason Varitek...

"Sometimes the business side drags out a little bit, and thankfully I don't have to be a big part of that business. But to have him back is great. It certainly makes our job a lot easier, and there are a lot pitchers that are probably thrilled that he's back. And again, I don't think he has to hit .300 for us to be successful. But I do think that there's going to be somewhat of a bounce-back year. But regardless, I think we've proven that if he doesn't hit, we can win, and if he does hit, that makes us a little bit of a special team."

OK, here are some of MY thoughts, if you wish. If not, just skip to the next paragraph. Firstly, we need a Big Papi with pop in his bat, and that means a healthy and sound wrist. I sure hope he is doing well. The 2-3-4-5 spots in the Red Sox lineup are crucial to the team's future success. That's Pedey, Papi, Youk and Lowell. And speaking of Mike Lowell, we all have to hope he will be (or is) pain-free in the hip area. I can only imagine how painful any injury like that could be. Ouch. We need ya, Mike. Tito's comments about 'Tek were right on the money. He doesn't have to hit .300...frankly, I think he's unable to do that. But with a .275 average and his reassuring presence behing the plate, we'll be fine for 2009. By this time next year, however, the Red Sox will have already signed, one way or another, a younger catcher, a guy who can hit AND catch...at the same time. We can only hope. One last tidbit from my brain. The Boston Red Sox pitching staff is as solid, starters to bullpen, as any in all of MLB baseball. Good pitching beats good hitting, as the saying goes. A healthy Beckett will make all the difference in the world. Dominate, Josh Baseball.

Well, that was fun...writing this post, I mean. Click on the title to be linked to the SI Red Sox homepage, where you can go anywhere you want with a single click. Have a great Friday the thirteenth. Leave a comment if you'd like...I'll repond to it. As always, BE WELL. Aloha. Shalom. L'chaim (to life). Hello. Goodbye. See ya.

11 Comments:

At 2/13/2009 6:43 AM, Blogger Moose said...

I'm worried about Lowell this year. He seems a bit too injury prone.

 
At 2/13/2009 6:54 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

Good morning. He's been a rock of our infield. The hip injury was a nagging one that he tried to play through. Wow, that must have hurt. But he's been there for our Sox, and he WILL be a force in 2009. Mark my words. Have a great Friday, Moose. Peter

 
At 2/13/2009 10:32 AM, Blogger Bosox Fan in Wichita said...

Potential injuries are always a big worry, but we have viable backup plans.

Don't you think that #5 spot might up for grabs? Drew & Bay have some formidable bats.

 
At 2/13/2009 1:08 PM, Blogger Peter N said...

Hey BFW. JD, when healthy, is a huge piece of the 2009 Red Sox puzzle, whatever lineup spot he's in. Bay next...sounds good to me. It's up to Tito to make the lineup and pencil it in. '09 will be fun, won't it?

 
At 2/13/2009 2:03 PM, Anonymous johnbee418 said...

I really hate to be a grump, but as the days close down toward the season opener, I shudder at the thought of Tim Wakefield being in the rotation and costing us an additional roster spot for "his" special catcher. He should be retired, give him a platinum (not gold) watch for all his contributions, assign him to a scouting position, and let one of the kids be a Number Five. At his best, Wakefield is no better than a .500 pitcher. And before we become too delirious with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads and pennants won, remember WE NEED A CATCHER WHO CAN HIT.

 
At 2/13/2009 5:55 PM, Blogger Moose said...

johnbee, a catcher who can hit is a must, trust me. But Wakefield has been reliable for many, many years, and it would be heartless to let him go.

 
At 2/13/2009 9:22 PM, Anonymous johnbee418 said...

Heartless? Not a bit, Moose. He's already under contract. He's already assured of a front office job for life. He's a keeper. The only thing he's not is a #5 rotation pitcher. Taking him off the active roster will prevent any of the too many embarrassments certain to occur, like when Francona refuses to warm up a reliever until about the 5th inning and Wake has already been shelled for 5 or 6 runs. We will be very lucky to have a .500 season from T.W...very lucky, indeed. Keeping him in the rotation is throwing good money after bad. I think it's called biting the bullet. God knows Tito, Jr., and Theo have bitten several bullets since 2003 at shortstop. There are some things that simply don't work out, and Tim Wakefield's productive career is at an end. Really. Honest. Cross my heart.

 
At 2/14/2009 5:53 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

JB, when Tim gets on a hot streak, he can go four or five winning starts in a row...but will he? Who knows. Remember, Smoltz will be that number five guy before too long, anyways.

 
At 2/14/2009 9:21 AM, Anonymous johnbee418 said...

Peter, a Number Five slot assures a pitcher of 30 starts per year. Remember, it's a very long season. Let's fantasize here a moment...let's say Mr. Wakefield has TWO of those four or five game winning streaks in the course of the season. And let's say he makes it FIVE game streaks. That's TEN wins out of 30 starts. And what happens in the other 20 starts? Pandemonium. Chaos. Saturation bombing. Obliteration. And, an overworked bullpen. That's what happens.

Oh, Pessimist! Oh, Gloom-sayer. Oh, Grump! Oh, Realist!

(A last point)...lose a game in April, it's lost forever. Lose a few in May and June, the time is running out. And even a John Smoltz, with a huge "S" on his chest and a red cape flowing behind him as he soars through the ether to Cooperstown will not be enough. Prevent the losses. Bite the bullet. Send Tim Wakefield to Portland to scout the kids.

 
At 2/14/2009 10:31 AM, Blogger Peter N said...

Hi JB. I never said that Timmy will be pitching the whole season. I just meant that if he's OK for April and the first half of May, the cavalry, in the form of a John Smoltz, will be there. Have a great weekend, my friend.

 
At 2/16/2009 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter, using Tim Wakefield only until John Smoltz is ready is still dangerous. Those April and May night games are chilly. In April, they're downright cold. And knuckle balls don't wiggle very well in cold weather. Why chance anything? Use one of the kids in the #5 spot and still wait for Smoltz. Hey, if we get lucky, Mr. Smoltz may not have a spot because the kid (whoever he is) is doing so well. Wishful thinking? Of course. But so is using Tim Wakefield.

 

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