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Francona checks in

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 7, 2009 03:42 PM

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Terry Francona on the search for a left fielder: "I'm sure when we head down to Fort Myers we'll have a left fielder. We always do. They're really good about that. We're amazingly consistent in that every year we always have a left fielder and I'm guessing we're going to have one this year, too."

Francona was in the Dominican Republic over the weekend for David Ortiz's golf tournament and saw a number of his players. He said Mike Lowell and Tim Wakefield looked good. J.D. Drew, from what he understands, has full range of motion in his surgically repaired left shoulder.

Francona also talked about some of the "honest" conversations he has had with Ortiz about the need to return in good shape.

He also said Jason Varitek was "as upbeat as I have ever seen him" when they spoke in the Dominican. That would seem to indicate that Varitek has accepted the notion of being a backup.

Francona admitted that while he's comfortable with the first four starters in his rotation, it's unrealistic to expect 200 innings from Wakefield. The only starters in the organization who appear ready to take some innings are Junichi Tazawa and Michael Bowden. So the Sox will need to acquire some depth.

He's also crazy about Marco Scutaro. "I was really happy about this. I think that people who watch him play will come to appreciate him very quickly," Francona said. "He has tremendous on-base skills. He can steal a base. ... He's a very good base-runner. He'll hit an occasional home run."

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Francona said, will be reporting to API in Arizona for three weeks of workouts. The manager believes Dice-K and the team have worked out their differences.

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