Red Sox manager Terry Francona would not reveal the Red Sox’ final 25-man roster for the ALDS, but did indicate that injured regulars J.D. Drew (back) and Mike Lowell (hip) were part of the plan during his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI.com this afternoon.
“J.D. came through [yesterday’s workout] with flying colors,” Francona said. “As far as [Lowell], because of who he is and how he plays the game, we want to give him a chance to play the game.”
Lowell also worked out yesterday and Francona suggested he liked what he saw.
“Because things were so clear during the workout, we already sat down and talked to the players,” Francona said. “It makes me rest easier, getting those things out of way. It allows you to get more excited for the baseball part.”
Francona said general manager Theo Epstein would announce the final roster at 1 p.m. EST. “The [moves] all makes sense. We had pretty good ideas why we did them.”
Francona also sounded open to the possibility of carrying a third catcher, most likely David Ross.
“You put the roster in best position where [it] can succeed,” Francona said. “You have to consider, ‘Does a third catcher allow you to pinch run, to pinch hit?’ It puts you in a position to maximize your roster.”
A few other topics Francona touched on:
On how soon the Sox began preparing for the Angels:
“We tried to stay in the moment and play every [regular season series]. The [season-ending] Yankees series was anticlimactic, it didn’t mean much. So we did a little bit [of preparation] then, but there wasn’t a real need to spend a ton of time ahead of time. We spent about five hours [Tuesday] going over Anaheim.”
On the decision to have starter Josh Beckett, who was pushed back to Game 3 because of a strained oblique muscle, travel to Anaheim with the team:
“Our medical staff is here, our pitching coach is here, we want to monitor him here. Leaving him in Boston didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. He played catch yesterday in front of us, he will long toss today in front of us, he will throw tomorrow in front of us. [Out here] we’re able to monitor everything.”
On how much emphasis the Sox put on trying to catch the Rays in the final days of the regular season:
“With about a week to go, we were kind of holding out hope we could pass them. But when it’s up to other teams to lose, your’re at their mercy. The biggest thing was recognizing the odds against us and getting our house in order . . . When the Beckett [injury] came up, it became pretty clear which way we needed to go.”
On whether he is considering using David Ortiz at first base and Mike Lowell at designated hitter:
“No. That’s not something that makes us a better team. If we play Lowell at third, we’ll have a Gold Glover at third, first, second, and a young kid at short . . . We just can’t start making random changes.”
On how much the addition of sluggers Torii Hunter and Mark Teixeira have helped the Angels:
“Everybody knows the way the Angels play. They push, they push, they push. But now have those two guys plugged into middle of lineup, with [Vladimir] Guerrero and Garret Anderson [batting second], and it makes them stronger. They still have speed, but they have some guys who can leave the ballpark, and makes ’em that much more dangerous.”
On whether Game 1 starter Jon Lester is capable of matching the big things Josh Beckett has accomplished in October during his career:
“Well, we’re going to find out. We’re all excited about it . . . I can’t imagine having more confidence [in a pitcher than I do in Jon]. If you can’t give ball to Beckett, we’re fortunate to have a guy like Lester and [Game 2 starter Daisuke Matsuzaka] behind him.”