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Francona's pregame chat

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff  May 6, 2009 05:23 PM

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Terry Francona met with the media this afternoon and held forth on a number of topics, including the health of center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (tight right hamstring), first baseman Kevin Youkilis (tight lower left side), the insertion of J.D. Drew into the leadoff spot in the batting order, and Daisuke Matsuzaka's rehab stint Tuesday night in Pawtucket, R.I., where he threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed 2 hits, 2 walks, one hit batsman, and recorded 5 strikeouts (47 pitches).

On keeping Ellsbury out of tonight's lineup against the Indians: "I think we're doing the prudent thing by not playing him tonight. I think we're hopeful of it tomorrow, but we'll reevaluate that. He's doing OK, though. The good news is he felt it and it's real tender. He felt it and was nervous and didn't want to hurt it as opposed to, 'Ah, he hurt it.'"

On Youkilis's prognosis: "Youk is still tight, better and improving, but again I don't think it's something where I want to go ahead and put him in there tonight. [When he might be available?] I don't know. Hopefully tomorrow. I don't know. If he plays better tomorrow, we'll play him. We can't look inside somebody's sternum or whatever it is. We're doing the best we can.''

On Rocco Baldelli's status: "Rocco is here getting treatment. He had a scheduled day off today, because he played two in a row. Tomorrow we'll evaluate where we are. We obviously have some decisions to make, where we are physically.''

On Drew batting leadoff: "We're just trying to piece it together. That's not a move that jump starts somebody or un-jump starts somebody. We're just looking for a little bit of balance and healthy bodies. Some night's, there's not a lot of guys available.''

On whether Dustin Pedroia would be a natural leadoff hitter: "Pedey in my opinion would be great, but then all of a sudden you're moving everybody and who's going to hit second? One thing leads to the other. When you start moving people, the word 'balance' is what we're always trying to come to. If you got guys on the bench that you don't want to put in the game, you really want to make sure you've got balance.''

Thoughts on Dice-K: "Sounds like Dice had a real good first inning, I think about 10 pitches. First and third inning, he commanded really well and second inning he didn't command. He was healthy and felt good about himself. We need to sit down and figure out whether we want him to pitch in Columbus or at Portland at home. John and Theo and I will sit down and figure it out.''

On whether David Ortiz seems to have his timing back: "Papi, the first night in New York, he hit two balls down the right field line and got pitches that weren't over the middle of the plate, they were in, and he got his hands in and stayed through the ball real well. I think that little bit of success started to let him slow down a bit. You could see last night his takes get slowed down, he took his walk, and I thought he looked like he was enjoying himself. The idea would be for him to hopefully get real hot and sometimes that happens. But the other thing I reminded him was, 'OK, you're 2-for-4, hitting .330 and that's a great night. Just feel good about yourself and try to be consistent.'"

On the return of Jed Lowrie, who underwent left wrist surgery two weeks ago: "Jed looks like he feels pretty good about stuff. He's in a good place and he's glad he had it done. He'll spend the week with us working with the trainers. We'll spend the next couple of days trying to figure out whether Jed's with us or he stays here when we're on the road.''

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