During his weekly appearance on the WEEI’s “The Dale and Holley Show” this afternoon, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he spoke to Daisuke Matsuzaka this morning and said that while he remains disappointed by the pitcher’s comments blaming the club for his struggles, the controversy will “blow over.”
Regarding Matsuzaka revealing details of what was said in a recent closed-door meeting, Francona said, “We were disappointed. I think we felt like it was a meeting that [had] a lot of information that needed to happen. It’s not always hugs and giggles, and there’s a strong personalities. I think we felt a little bit like he betrayed our trust a little bit.
“Now, saying that . . . I talked to Daisuke again today on the way to the ballpark and explained to him how this is going to work. And the thing I said is, not everybody is perfect . . . we all make mistakes. What is important is how we move on after we make those mistakes. He was actually great. I think he owned up to the fact that he made the mistake. I think it transpired a little bit differently than I understood at the time. I don’t think he ran out of here and ran to somebody and vented. I think it was a little bit different. Regardless, it still happened and we were kind of agitated, but I think he’s in a pretty good place, actually. This will blow over. My job is to help him get him going to the right place. I think he actually feels like he’s in a pretty good place. I know it doesn’t sound like it from the interview, but I think he feels pretty good about himself.”
Francona said there has been a lot of give and take with Matsuzaka since he signed with the club before the 2007 season.
“There’s been a lot of give and take. There’s been a lot of difference of opinions. And certainly we can understand that. I don’t think you can expect a guy from a completely different culture, different learning methods, to completely buy into it because we say it. But at the same time, when you come to the United States and play baseball here, there are different rigors, from the schedule to when you’re pitching, and we want this guy to hold up over the course of his career.”
Francona also talked extensively about closer Jonathan Papelbon’s recent command problems.
“When you walk people, you’re asking for trouble, we all know that. . . . He’s had more walks than he’s had in the past, but I still don’t think he’s wild,” Francona said. “You look at some of the relievers in the league, some of the closer, the walk-strikeout ratio, Pap is still pretty good. We’ve been accustomed to a couple years of single-digit walks over the course of the year. That may not be realistic, or attainable every single year. There’s a lot of stress and a lot of coincidences and small sample sizes with relievers that can lead to some different types of stats.
“We definitely believe the less amount of walks he has, the better,” Francona added. “My point is that, because of what he’s done in the past, I don’t know if you can match that every year.”
Francona also said that David Ortiz will get the night off against the A’s lefty Brett Anderson, with Mike Lowell taking over at DH. Adam LaRoche will start at first base and Kevin Youkilis will slide over to third.