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Red Sox notebook

Reyes wildly disappointing

Lefthander has struggled badly

Terry Francona says he sees “good emotion in the dugout.’’ Terry Francona says he sees “good emotion in the dugout.’’ (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
By Peter Abraham and Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / April 7, 2011

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CLEVELAND — If the Red Sox make their first roster move of the season today or tomorrow, it would not be a surprise. Dennys Reyes has been that bad.

The lefthanded reliever has faced 10 batters in the first five games of the season and six have gotten on base. Of the six lefthanded hitters he has faced, four have reached.

Reyes entered last night’s game against the Indians with the Sox trailing, 3-2. He loaded the bases on 12 pitches, hitting Travis Buck and Matt LaPorta before walking Jack Hannahan. Reyes threw only one strike.

“We wanted him to face maybe six, seven hitters. It was set up where we wanted him to face their lefties. But he was commanding so little,’’ manager Terry Francona said.

The Indians went on to score four runs in the inning and win the game, 8-4, as the Sox fell to 0-5. Reyes was charged with three runs.

“The game was close and I let it get away,’’ he said.

Reyes has thrown only 17 of his 39 pitches for strikes in four outings.

“I was going too quick to the plate,’’ he said. “My arm was too far in front of my body. It was mechanical. I couldn’t command my pitches.’’

Reyes said he felt it was something easily corrected. But how long can the Sox wait? With Hideki Okajima and Rich Hill available in Pawtucket, there are options.

“He’s missing by a lot. He’s just not commanding,’’ Francona said.

Said catcher Jason Varitek: “He tried a couple of different pitches to get strikes. He tried his cutter; he tried his sinker. He just couldn’t throw strikes.’’

Being consistent If you were expecting Francona to kick over some tables or give a fiery speech after his team lost four games, guess again. In his mind, a losing streak to start the season should be treated like any other.

“I hope I deal with it the same. That’s the whole idea, being consistent,’’ he said before the game. “Regardless of what my personality is with the coaches, if we don’t maintain some consistency, I think that’s going to send up a red flag out in the clubhouse. That’s the best thing we can do, is just be consistent.

“The players know we want to win. I know they want to win.’’

When the Sox met as a group before the season started, they discussed managing expectations early in the year.

“That’s one thing we talked about, everything gets overblown, overanalyzed the first two weeks of the season,’’ Francona said. “Saying that, I wish we were playing better. You just have to deal with it.’’

Francona interacts with the players more during batting practice than he does in the clubhouse. His sense was the early losses were more a lack of execution than effort.

“It’s our responsibility to take the temperature. I think they care,’’ he said. “I see good emotion in the dugout and guys trying. It hasn’t translated into a win yet. I don’t want to downplay [the poor start] because that’s why we’re here. It hasn’t worked out. That doesn’t mean they’re not trying and the effort hasn’t been good.

“When a hitter’s struggling, you see him try to go 3 for 1. As a manager or a coach, you can do the same thing. It’s kind of dangerous. You just need to pay attention to what we’re paying attention to.’’

Francona was informed before the game that no 0-4 team ever has gone on to win the World Series.

“I guess I would say we’ve got 158 left, so I don’t think we’re going to pack it in,’’ he said.

Pucks and pigskin The Red Sox could be putting a hockey rink back at Fenway Park next winter.

The park hosted the NHL’s Winter Classic Jan. 1, 2010, along with a series of high school and college games. The NHL is unlikely to return any time soon, but chief operating officer Sam Kennedy said the team is interested in hosting college games again.

The Sox are also exploring the possibility of a college football game.

Tek support Jason Varitek started his first game of the season and went 0 for 2 with a walk. Francona indicated that the veteran is scheduled to catch Sunday night against the Yankees. Over the course of the season, the Sox plan to use Varitek against certain lefthanded pitchers. For now, the reasoning was to give Jarrod Saltalamacchia some rest after he caught the first four games. Varitek’s first start gave the Sox five different lineups in their first five games . . . Catcher Mark Wagner, who was designated for assignment March 29, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Pawtucket. He was sent to extended spring training . . . Daisuke Matsuzaka, last night’s starter, will donate $500 for every strikeout to the Red Sox Foundation and the “Dice-K’s Strikeouts For Kids’’ program. A portion of the donation this year will go to relief efforts in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami . . . The Red Sox are planning to honor former general manager Lou Gorman, who died last week, before tomorrow’s game.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report; Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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