Francona: Red Sox facing 'tough' decisions

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Francona: Red Sox facing 'tough' decisions

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. With just two weeks to go before Opening Day, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said his team will spend the remaining time in Fort Myers working on fundamentals, something his team has been able to focus on only sporadically recently because of scheduling.

Well, we still have some fundamentals that we need to cover, Francona said. We got to get through the next three or four days. We got three games in the next 24 hours. So, our travel schedule here is not real conducive to sometimes getting our work done. Its not a complaint. Its just stating the facts. We spend a lot of time on buses because of where were located. So we try to do our fundamentals periodically. When we have a couple home games well spend a little extra time doing stuff like that . . . Once we get through with this stretch, well probably pare the number in camp down a little bit more and well get in the last of our fundamentals.

After this stretch a split-squad, day-night, home-away doubleheader on Friday, and a game in Bradenton Saturday against the Pirates the Red Sox will make additional roster moves, paring the number from the current 43.

But, with every position on the roster just about set, there remain very few spots open one or possibly two spots in the bullpen. Who will fill those spots are the real decisions. Those in the mix include left-handers Andrew Miller, Randy Williams, Dennys Reyes, Hideki Okajima, and Rich Hill, and righties Matt Albers, Scott Atchison, Brandon Duckworth, Michael Bowden, Matt Fox, Alfredo Aceves, and Tim Wakefield.

Franconas decisions this spring are a little different than in past springs.

Just as difficult, but for different reasons.

In the past, I think weve had real tough decisions, he said. This year its a little different because I think we feel like we have good depth. Sometimes youre making a decision out of like, Uh-oh, somebodys got to emerge here where youre kind of scrambling. Last year we brought lefty reliever Scott Schoeneweis in late. This year we feel like weve got a lot of good decisions to make. Its going to be tough on some guys because they probably feel like they deserve to make the team.

Nobodys really separated themselves in a bad way. Everybodys kind of done what we hoped theyd do, were going to have some decisions to make. Its tough for guys, but its a good way to set up your team."

Dont expect any hints from Francona on who his picks will be.

I would never sit here and talk about somebody being on the team, he said. I cant do that. Thats so disrespectful to the players. I would never do that. Thatd be awful.

He did acknowledge, though, that Wakefield and Aceves, for example, could fill similar roles long relief, spot starts but with very different styles.

Reyes, who got to camp late from Mexico because of visa issues, has pitched five innings over five games, giving up one earned run. He is scheduled to pitch in Friday afternoons game against the Tigers.

I think hes a little bit behind, Francona said. We certainly have to make a decision with him. But hes got that two-seam, when the balls down and hes got the late-breaking slider. Just want to see how consistent he is.

Were going to have some interesting decisions to make here, Francona said.

Fortunately, guys have really shown well. Im sure pitching coach Curt Young and I and general manager Theo Epstein and assistant GM Ben Cherington will sit down, as we have been, and try to make the best decisions, not only for Opening Day but for the organization. Its going to be tough.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

David Ortiz 'guest edits' this week's Sports Illustrated

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David Ortiz 'guest edits' this week's Sports Illustrated

This week’s Sports Illustrated has been guest-edited by Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who is also featured on the New England regional cover with the headline “Designated Editor: Before He Retires Big Papi Takes Over SI.”

The cover shot is Ortiz stepping out of the dugout at Fenway Park, surrounded by his teammates and fans. In the issue, SI's Tim Verducci has in-depth, candid Q&A with Ortiz on a range of topics in which Big Papi doesn’t shy away from questions about PEDs, his proudest accomplishments and biggest disappointments. 

This is the first time in the magazine's 62-year history that an athlete has guest-edited an issue. Ortiz was able to select the stories, including one on his friend, new Celtics free agent acquisition Al Horford, which explores the brotherhood of Dominican athletes beyond their major league dominance. Ortiz asked SI to look into what’s going on at Patriots headquarters, where his favorite NFL team is off to a 3–0 start. He called for an opus on Jose Fernandez, whose life was tragically cut short last weekend, and who will have a lasting impact on those he touched. Finally, Late Night host Seth Meyers and writer Michael Schur pay their respects to Ortiz.

 

 

Yankees beat Blue Jays, Red Sox have chance to clinch AL East on Tuesday

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Yankees beat Blue Jays, Red Sox have chance to clinch AL East on Tuesday

For tonight, the Boston Red Sox can say "thank you" to the New York Yankees.

Despite the Toronto Blue Jays loading the bases with no out in the ninth, the Yankees hold on to beat the Blue Jays, 7-5. The result moves the Red Sox' magic number in the AL East to just one game. 

David Price will take the mound for the Red Sox on Tuesday night against those very Yankees with a chance to clinch the division. 

They can also clinch the AL East with a Toronto loss to the Baltimore Orioles.