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First glance

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  February 20, 2007 11:02 AM

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Red Sox owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, and a contingent that included new Red Sox business partner Jack Roush, joined general manager Theo Epstein this morning to watch Daisuke Matsuzaka take the bullpen mound, getting their first spring glance at their offseason prize.

Matsuzaka threw with the same group that he did on Sunday – Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, and Curt Schilling.

Following their session, the group took pitchers fielding practice with manager Terry Francona and Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson, forming three teams of two – Schilling and Okajima, Matsuzaka and Wakefield, and Papelbon and Beckett. The Schilling-Okajima and Matsuzaka-Wakefield teams tied the first round with 20 stopped balls, after Matsuzaka stopped an impressive streak , 12 in a row, to carry his teammate. (By the way, according to Johnson, the record is 25 in a row for a team).

Papelbon and Beckett didn’t fare quite as well. After Beckett managed to stop only two, Papelbon, spotting a sea of random balls on the ground and faced with the challenge of getting 18 in a row just to tie, asked for a reload on the number of balls Francona and Johnson had at their disposal.

“Nah,” Francona said. "I don’t think we’re going to need one.”

Papelbon managed to stop just seven, slamming his glove to the ground.

Schilling and Okajima went on to take the second round, 18-13.

Francona should be speaking to the media shortly. We’ll try and find out which other position players have reported.

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