Treading cautiously because of privacy issues, Sox manager Terry Francona today made his first public comments in some time on rookie lefthander Jon Lester, who is undergoing cancer treatments in Seattle.
“The one thing I feel comfortable saying is his spirit is unbelievably positive. I think he’s doing fantastic. That’s all I’m really comfortable saying because of the privacy issue. I’m very proud of his ability to handle this,” Francona said at a press briefing today at Fenway, where new pitching coach John Farrell was also available to meet the press in person.
In other Sox news, Francona said concerning the rounding out of the coaching staff, “We were gonna start working on that in Phoenix (at the Arizona Fall League) but my foot (infection) got in the way but we’ll start addressing that soon and it’s probably something we can handle over the next couple of weeks.”
Francona needs of hire a new first base coach with Bill Haselman gone. The team has also not made an announcement on interim pitching coach Al Nipper.
Francona said he also spoke to Jonathan Papelbon and said the Sox closer, who will join Boston’s rotation next season, is doing very well and anxious to get going again.
The Sox announced a few new area scouts:
Duane Gustavson: Appointed area scout for the Ohio Valley Region (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee). Gustavson has spent the last ten years as an amateur scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates, most recently in the Ohio Valley area.
Laz Gutierrez: Appointed area scout in South Florida. Gutierrez served as pitching coach at Barry University in Miami Shores, FL in 2006 after three years as head baseball coach at Coral Gables, FL High School. He pitched at the University of Miami and in the Detroit and San Diego organizations.
Tony Guzzo: Appointed area scout for the Mid-Atlantic Region (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia). Guzzo has won over 700 games in 26 years as a collegiate head coach, compiling a 303-252 record at Old Dominion University from 1995-2004. Detroit Tigers rookie standout Justin Verlander pitched for Guzzo before being selected second overall in the 2004 draft.
In addition, Josh Loggins, who joined the Red Sox as a part-time scout this past season, has been promoted as the club’s area scout in the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin). Loggins spent eight seasons as an outfielder with the Padres, Yankees, and Indians organizations.
Edgar Perez joins the organization in Puerto Rico after seven years with the Cleveland Indians. He has been a coach in the Puerto Rican League the last several winters, working at Arecibo this year.
Quincy Boyd, a native of South Carolina, becomes Boston’s area scout for North and South Carolina after spending 2006 working in the Midwest Region. Jon Lukens, who has scouted South Florida for the last several years, moves back to the Western United States as the area scout for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.
In the organization’s International Baseball Operation, Eddie Romero has been promoted to the position of Coordinator, Latin America Operations. Romero joined the Red Sox last winter as Assistant, Professional and International Scouting.
Boston has hired Jose Zapata as the new manager of its Dominican Summer League team. Zapata has been with the Florida Marlins since 2002, serving as the organization’s Dominican Summer League manager the last four seasons. He previously was with the Montreal Expos organization. Nelson Paulino, who has managed Boston’s DSL team for four years, will serve as the bench coach for the team.
The Red Sox also hired Ricardo Petit to scout in Venezuela.
Red Sox wives are taking part in a turkey drive for “Chain of Giving” at the Greater Boston Food Bank on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. The Food Bank is handing out 35,000 turkeys, a 17 percent increase over last season.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino; U. S. Congressman Michael Capuano; Jimmy Tingle; Jacque Francona,Tiffany Ortiz, Dan and Betsy Nally — founders of Turkeys4America; Executive Vice President Barry Berman of Stop & Shop; Bob Gallery, Massachusetts state president for Bank of America, Executive Vice President Paul Bass of BJ’s Wholesale Club; Woody Bradford Jr., managing director of Putnam Investments; Chefs Jody Adams of Rialto; Chef Chris Douglass of Icarus; Chef Jason King of Tuscan Grill; Chef Keith Pooler of Harvest; Chef Brooke Vosika of The Four Seasons; volunteers from Blue Cross Blue Shield and many other invited guests will join Catherine D’Amato, president and CEO of The Greater Boston Food Bank, on the chain of giving handing turkeys down the line from the loading dock to the freezer.