Francona on the state of the Red Sox


Francona on the state of the Red Sox

By SeanMcAdam

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 Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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