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Orioles-Red Sox pregame chatter

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff  May 16, 2011 04:44 PM

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Red Sox manager Terry Francona discussed a few different topics before the game:

On Bobby Jenks, who was placed on the disabled list May 5 with a right bicep strain and tendinitis and was hoping to begin playing catch, Francona said, "Hope so. He'll be examined today by Dr. [Thomas] Gill and again he has to be symptom-free or I think the feeling is we'd be putting a Band Aid on something that we we want to get better. Hopefully we'll get good news on that, we'll see.''

On what he liked about Daisuke Matsuzaka's last two or three starts: "We'll I don't think we disliked [anything], but what we always hope for every pitcher is to get the ball, work quick, pound the strike zone and stay out of the middle. He can't hit for us, but just go out there and do those types of things. And over the course of 34, 35, 36 starts, you'll be where you're supposed to. The inconsistencies are what make it tough."

On whether Matsuzaka enjoys having the extra day since most pitchers are routine-oriented: "Well, he's pretty routine also. He's OK with that, with his past history, for sure. I think he's really good at taking the time and making his body feel better."

On the offensive production from catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who homered for the first time this season in Sunday night's 7-5 win at Yankee Stadium, and Jason Varitek, who are hitting a combined .196 (27 for 138): "Again, some of it is perspective, too. Now I don't want to talk down Salty's home run, because I was thrilled, but if it was here at Fenway it's an out. That's why we keep things in perspective. That's why we talk about inconsistencies so much, because if you're consistent, those things will even out whether you hit 'em on the road, at home, in the wind, in the rain, warm days, cold days. I can't imagine that it won't help his confidence, which will only make him better. That's the biggest thing. When guys get rewarded for doing something, they feel good about themselves that next at-bat and that's important."

On how much he's encouraged by the swings Kevin Youkilis has taken of late: "You know, it's been kind of an interesting run for him. We've seen him take more swings maybe out of the zone and some swings and misses that maybe we're not accustomed to [seeing], but if you make that one mistake, he's been hitting that 3-run homer. So there's certainly that threat and there's that production there. But he's been creeping up in his batting average and things like that, so he never gives at-bats away and you can't tell, because even when it's a struggle for him, if you make that one mistake, all of a sudden the game turns around. He's got more strikeouts [40] than we're accustomed to seeing, but he's always been a pretty-high walk guy. Sometimes they go hand in hand; you're getting deeper in the count so you're going to strike out also."

On finally getting to .500: "If you would've asked me in spring training if I'd have been happy to be .500 on May 16, I'd have probably said `No,' but since we started out 2-11, the answer is `Yes.' It's also kind of an arbitrary time of year, because if we lost tonight we're back under .500. I do think, though, in a little bit we fought to get here, that means we're getting somewhere, but certainly by no means we're where we want to be, but we're making progress. I think more than that, I'm a little more pleased with how we're playing. Sometimes wins are hard. All good teams go through periods where you reel off a few wins and you feel like you got it going. But you got to find ways to win when it's not really easy."

And another thing: Matt from Philadelphia, Pa., e-mailed us with the following heads-up about David Oritz: `Anyone notice that Papi has 19 runs, 19 RBIs, 19 BB and 19 K's? Sort of odd run of numbers.'' It is indeed, Matt. Nice catch, though.

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