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He recalls Philly fondly

Francona learned valuable lessons

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / June 28, 2011

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PHILADELPHIA — Terry Francona, who grew up close to Pittsburgh, had an enjoyable weekend catching up with family and friends. Every time he looked up in the stands, it seemed somebody was waving to him.

There may be gestures from the fans in Philadelphia the next three days but they won’t be waves.

Francona managed the Phillies from 1997-2000, taking over a rebuilding team. He was 285-363 and never finished higher than third place.

“I don’t think they’re going to have a parade in Philly unless things have changed,’’ Francona said.

But Francona looks back on his tenure in Philadelphia as helping lead to his historic success in Boston.

“I was realistic; I knew why I got the job. If they thought they were ready to win, they’d have gone out and got Jim Leyland or somebody,’’ he said. “They were looking for somebody young to be patient and I tried to do that. I was lucky to get an opportunity and did the best that I could.

“It’s great training. I was learning on the run. It was a good experience. It wasn’t always fun but it was a good experience.’’

Under Francona, the Red Sox are 19-6 against the Phillies, 11-4 at Citizens Bank Park.

New spin on rotation The Phillies used their day off yesterday to change up their rotation. Righthander Kyle Kendrick was pushed back so that lefthander Cole Hamels could pitch Thursday on his usual rest.

Kendrick is 0-3 with a 10.80 earned run average in four career appearances against the Red Sox while Hamels is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in three career starts.

Hamels beat the Sox twice last season, allowing two earned runs on eight hits over 14 innings.

Hamels will face Jon Lester in a matchup of two of the game’s best lefthanders.

Wrong in right Through games played on Sunday, the Red Sox were getting the least production out of right field in the majors.

The Sox were last in batting average (.220), on-base percentage (.304), and OPS (.640), and had only 30 RBIs from that position.

J.D. Drew has started 50 of the 77 games in right with Mike Cameron starting 22. Both veterans are having disastrous seasons. Drew is hitting .232 with a .657 OPS and Cameron .154 with a .493 OPS.

Among players with at least 100 plate appearances, only Tyler Colvin of the Cubs (.105) is hitting lower than Cameron.

Josh Reddick is 12 for 29 with five extra-base hits and nine RBIs in 12 games. He has started in left field the last two games in place of the injured Carl Crawford but could see time in right once Crawford returns.

The organization’s top outfield prospect, Ryan Kalish, is making incremental progress from shoulder and neck injuries. He has not played since April 21.

“He has his good days and his bad days. It’s two or three steps forward and one step back,’’ Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler told team broadcaster Steve Hyder. “It’s on a weekly basis now. We’re through looking at things day to day. He’s making progress.’’

Tazawa roughed up Righthander Junichi Tazawa was activated off the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Double A Portland. He started last night’s game against New Britain and did not get through the first inning, giving up six runs on three hits and two walks before being pulled after two outs and 37 pitches. Tazawa, 25, had Tommy John surgery on April 6, 2010 and missed that entire season. He began a rehab assignment with Single A Salem May 20 and went 0-1 with a 6.05 ERA in six starts. Tazawa allowed only one earned run on seven hits over 12 innings in his last four starts, striking out 10 with one walk . . . Lefthanded reliever Rich Hill, who underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this month, was shifted to the 60-day DL to make room for Tazawa on the 40-man roster . . . Dustin Pedroia enters tonight’s game with an 11-game hitting streak. The 16-of-42 run has pushed his average to .276 . . . Adrian Gonzalez is 15 for 31 with nine RBIs in the last seven games. . . . Dan Wheeler has allowed two runs over 12 1/3 innings in 12 appearances since coming off the disabled list.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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