Francona on the state of the Red Sox

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Francona on the state of the Red Sox

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Earlier in the week, general manager Theo Epstein addressed a number of topics on the eve of spring training. Sunday, it was manager Terry Francona's turn.

Some highlights on a variety of issues:

On the team's potential: "I think our expectations are high. They should be. Our front office and ownership did a terrific job this winter...I think we've had high expectations for the last eight or nine years. But I don't think we'll be consumed by the pressure of our expectations.''

On JD Drew's balky hamstring: "It's something that he has voiced some concern about. He went and saw Dr. (James) Andrews and came up to Boston. I don't think he's real concerned about it. It's been there. I don't think we want it to be a concern. We'll certainly monitor it.''

On the timetable for Adrian Gonzalez to see game action: "I know he feels like he's ahead of the projections. But until he sees (the doctor who performed the shoulder surgery), it would be kind of silly for me to guess. We'll go completely by what that checkup says so there's no reason to really guess on that one.''

On Dustin Pedroia's workload this spring: "We'd rather not beat up guys for no reason. We'll keep an eye on him. He's pretty honest with me about stuff. We realize what's happened to him; we'll keep an eye on him.''

On the catching situation: ""We've got (Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamachia) and I think we're pretty comfortable with that, maybe more than people realize. Salty's had a tremendous winter. This guy's potentially a power-hitting switch-hitting catcher, but if that doesnt' come to fruition right away, that's not the end of the world. But we love the way that he wants to run the game. And Tek's in a good spot.''

On Jonathan Papelbon's motivation to bounce back: "There's maybe various reasons why he wants to bounce back. I'm not sure I care (what they are), whether it's financial or whatever. I just want him to get a bunch of saves.''

On Jacoby Ellsbury: "He missed a lot of time. Does that, early on, sort of slow him down? We'll see. I hope not. If it does though, we have ways to take the pressure off him. We can hit him lower in the lineup. If he's feeling good, we'd love for him to lead off. If he's not, we can protect him (by hitting him lower).''

On Daniel Bard: "Bard is probably the ultimate weapon in the bullpen. Like maybe no other reliever in the league, he has that ability to come in, finish an inning and go back out. We'll use that to our advantage; he actually thrives on it.''

On players arriving late: "The only two potential hangups are (Alfredo) Aceves and (Dennys) Reyes. Aceves will be here, then he will have to leave to go get his visa. Dennys got permission to get it; he may be a couple of days.''

On the batting order: "We didn't spend a lot of time talking about that (in meetings). We'll get to that. I know that's the fun stuff in Boston, but it will work itself out.''

On the leadoff spot: "Whoever leads off, you want a couple of things. Speed's good, but you want him to score runs. On-base (ability is important) is more important than stolen bases. In factr, sometimes the guys who run are better off at the bottom of the order. They can run a little bit more free without making outs with your better hitters off. We'll use good judgement.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.

Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.

Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double. 

The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park. 

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

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Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.