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Francona's daily briefing

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff  February 19, 2009 12:29 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona met with the media this afternoon at the team's player development complex for his daily Q&A and about the only real news from the session was that David Ortiz was held out of practice after sleeping awkwardly on his left shoulder, but Francona stressed there was no reason to be alarmed.

"We kept David in," said Francona. "He slept on left shoulder funny, so I just told him to stay inside... He's our DH, he doesn't have a lot of things to do with the pickoffs. And on Feb. 19, we figured he'd get more by staying inside."

Francona also talked about the team taking live batting practice for the first time.

"It's all for the pitchers," said Francona. "It's kind of a necessary evil for the hitters. But we need to get the pitchers out there seeing hitters in the box. It's tough. I know the first day, guys get in there, everyone seems like they're throwing 100, and some were, but that's just part of what you have to do. It's not a lot of fun for the hitters."

Francona emphasized that the team is not evaluating the pitchers during the live batting practice sessions.

"We are just trying to get them out there," said Francona. "We're not evaluating anything, we just want them to get comfortable on the mound, almost prefer they induce contact. No red flags came up from anybody."

Francona also gave an update on Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is currently training with the Japan entry for the World Baseball Classic.

"We pretty much get an update every day," said Francona, noting Matsuzaka recently threw a simulated game. "We've had contact with him, talked to him on the phone the other day. I think everything's going very well. There's some dialogue every day, they send a report on what he did so we're up to date."

Part of the Q&A centered on Dustin Pedroia and Francona provided the lighthearted moment of the day while relaying a story from last season.

"Last year, I introduced [Ken] Macha to [Pedroia] and Macha was just making conversation with him and said, 'Hey, you remind me of Chad Curtis,'" Francona said."Macha meant it like a real compliment, but Pedey was like, 'Are you [expletive] me?' Maybe he's right? It went from just trying to introduce him to I had to hold Pedey back... Good to not introduce him to anybody."

Curtis was a career .264 hitter over 10 major league seasons and is probably better known for his run-in with Derek Jeter.

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