Francona on the state of the Red Sox

191542.jpg

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

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Could John Henry sell ownership of the Boston Red Sox anytime soon, or does he want to keep winning?  Shaughnessy, Merloni, and Tanguay debate.