Lucchino doesn't refute facts of Globe story

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Lucchino doesn't refute facts of Globe story

Larry Lucchino called Wednesday's Boston Globe story on the off-field problems of the Red Sox "an interesting set of theories about the demise of the club in September", but didn't specifically refute any of the news that was reported . . . including the part, vehemently denied by Terry Francona, that Francona had personal problems, including the use of painkillers to deal with various medical issues, that affected his job performance.

"Most of the things that were reported we had heard publicly," said the Red Sox' president and CEO. "Well, some of which we had heard, not all of them. That was Globe reporter Bob Hohler's take on it. We're doing our own review and examination."

The news on Francona had never been reported prior to Wednesday.

Lucchino also declined to comment on the swirling rumors about general manager Theo Epstein heading to Chicago.

"I don't have anything new to add, I really don't," he said. "We said last week, and we said since the beginning of this, we don't comment on these kinds of offseason activities, requests for permission, front-office or managerial changes, unless there is something specific to talk about. And so we're going to respect the privacy of the individuals involved."

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.