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WEEI » This Just In » Red Sox - Yankees Tuesday Pregame Notes
Tue, 06/09/2009 - 4:17pm  

Red Sox - Yankees Tuesday Pregame Notes

Red Sox manager Terry Francona offered the usual round of pre-game updates. Among them:
Jacoby Ellsbury is "a little sore." After his examination yesterday for a shoulder strain, "everyone concluded it was just a bruise, which is good." The Sox planned to have him work out on the field before the game, leading to a subsequent evaluation of his status. He's considered day to day.

Jed Lowrie probably will start a rehab assignment within about a week. "The one thing we don't want to do is send him out to play while he still has rehab to do," Francona said.

J.D. Drew told Francona that he is "good to go. "

The match-up of Josh Beckett vs. A.J. Burnett features two pitchers with dominant stuff. "If you're a fan," said Francona, "this is one of the best games to watch."

Francona offered a few ideas about Josh Beckett's dramatic turnaround, during which he has gone from permitting opponents a batting average of over .300 in his first five starts to under .200 in the last five. "He's trusting his stuff. His command is better. The finish on his stuff is better," Francona said. Francona also suggested that Beckett has been using a two-seam fastball to great effect against lefties, a pitch that is thrown at their belt buckles but then veers back over the inside corner.

Of the formidable Yankees lineup, Francona said, "Everybody has 12 homers...If you pound the (strike) zone and miss, they hit a homer."

On David Ortiz: "I think the last, maybe it's 10 days, he's made a concerted effort to not drag (emotionally), because he understands how important he is to our team...when he's driving the ball consistently with authority, I think everyone will feel good." Francona said that he was unsure how he would use Ortiz during interleague play during the weekend series in Philadelphia, when there will not be a designated hitter. Teh Red Sox manager did say that he would not use Ortiz at first base simply to keep his mind off of his hitting problems, since that would be detrimental to the team's run prevention.
"I hate to put a player in a position to be embarrassed, not because of skill but instead because he hasn't been out there," Francona said of using Ortiz at first.




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