Red Sox manager Terry Francona met with the media before tonight’s game against the visiting Chicago White Sox (24-31) and discussed a number of topics, including the fact he was giving short stop Jed Lowrie the night off to rest his sore left shoulder, which got dinged in a collision with left fielder Carl Crawford on a shallow pop-up in the first game of a day-night doubleheader in Detroit.
“On that little pop-up, he got clipped [in the collision between] him and Carl and his left shoulder was a little sore yesterday and stiff today,” Francona said. “Thought about playing him and we kind of went back and forth and said, `Well, let’s see if it loosens up.’ But because we’re not taking BP on the field and it’s a late arrival. I said, `You know what, let’s hit in the cage, as the day progresses and if you feel good, maybe we’ll pinch hit ya, if you don’t then it’s a good thing we stayed away.’ This is nothing. He’ll play tomorrow. He probably could’ve played today, but the more I started talking to him, I said, `You know what? We’re going to use our heads here.’ ”
Among the other topics Francona discussed were:
- Bobby Jenks’s rehab start in Pawtucket Sunday: “His velocity was good. He didn’t hold a runner, which I think happens sometimes. All indications are that it’s a good thing he went because he shook a little rust off, even by his own [admission] and now he’ll come back and help us.”
- The strides Jacoby Ellsbury has made in the leadoff position, reaching safely in 43 of 52 games he’s had a plate appearance this season and hitting .342 (51 for 149 with 26 runs scored, 6 home runs and 27 RBI) in the 35 games since he returned to the leadoff position April 22, giving him a .368 on base percentage: “That’s the biggest thing. That, for me is the most important thing. We know he can steal bases and we know he’s going to get hits. If he gets on base, those other things are going to fall into place. He’s going to hit an occasional home run — shoot, he might it even more than an occasional home run and that will go wherever it goes, but if he gets on base, that’ll make our team go, the threat of his speed. He’s a good hitter and he’s going to get hits, but if he hits in deep counts and he sees pitches and he gets on base, where in a lot better shape. We’re a totally different team when he’s hitting successfully.”
- The warm weather that greeted the Sox upon their arrival from a 5-2 road trip: “I don’t think it matters where you play, I know it was hot and humid in Detroit [Sunday] and guys were happy. It was baseball weather. It’s a lot easier to play when it’s warm and humid and you got a sweat going; the at-bats carry over and the ball carries and I guess I’m excited when we hit, maybe not so much when Konerko and Dunn are up there. It’s nice to get into baseball weather, though.”