Red Sox manager Terry Francona joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday and talked about what transpired the previous two days in New York, where his team split a two-game series and dealt with some on- and off-field issues.
Asked about David Ortiz failing to hustle on the eighth-inning hit that tied Tuesday night's game, leading to Ortiz getting thrown out at second base, Francona said any discussions will be kept private. "Things where I talk to a player, I think it needs to be between me and him," Francona said. "You're right, I do feel the game should be played a certain way. And when it's not always, I don't think it's on purpose, I don't think they're bad people, but sometimes you need to say things to people, and hopefully we do it in the correct manner and do it the right way. That's kind of what I fall back on. I don't think guys don't care, again, but sometimes everybody needs reminders."
Francona was asked if he has ever had a situation like the one in Florida, where Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez benched shortstop Hanley Ramirez for a lack of hustle. "I'm sure I have, especially in the minor leagues you do it a lot," Francona said. "In the minor leagues your job is to prepare these guys so when they go to the next level they don't do things like that. Because once they get to the big leagues, it might be too late. Oh, yeah, I remember sitting guys out for maybe six, seven days, and having them want to kill me. But I say, 'Hey, if you don't do this again, then I've made my point.' So, yeah, mostly in the minor leagues. Just because you want to teach guys before they get to this level the difference between right and wrong. And being able to handle the frustration -- because that's what happens, guys get frustrated. Or in some cases I think maybe they think it's a home run. Again, trying to get them to differentiate between right and wrong before they get to the big leagues."
Francona also addressed comments from Mike Lowell Tuesday afternoon that the veteran might be better off elsewhere as he becomes more frustrated with his lack of playing time. Francona said that he was caught off guard when asked about those comments in New York on Tuesday.
"I kind of got blindsided a little bit," said Francona, who said that he sympathizes with the concerns of Lowell and Tim Wakefield about their roles but won't discuss the situations through the media. "That's a bad way for me to communicate to players is through the media. That doesn't work.
"I've actually never had that conversation with Mikey. So I'm not real comfortable, again, going through you guys, or going through Steve Buckley, or going through Dan Shaughnessy to talk to Mikey Lowell. If I have something to say to him, I always tell him. He may not like what he's hearing all the time, but I think it's the best way to do it. I guess I kind of fall back on, I just don't want to have the three-party conversations with our players. If I have something to say to them, I always tell them, and they have the right to tell me back what they want, hopefully in a way that is at least respectful, and then we move on."
Francona said because the team got back to Boston so late, he does not have an udpate on Josh Beckett's injury situation. He said Mike Cameron will not make his scheduled appearance for Double-A Portland on Wednesday because of the weather, but that both Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury are slated to play for the Sea Dogs on Thursday. Francona indicated that he plans to give Marco Scutaro the night off in Wednesday night's opener of a two-game series against the Twins, with Bill Hall at shortstop and Jeremy Hermida likely batting leadoff.
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