FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona spent the morning roaming from field to field here at the player development complex. Friday was the second day of live batting sessions for the pitchers, and it was the starters’ turn.
Francona saw a little bit of Josh Beckett, but the manager spent most of his morning watching Jon Lester, along with some of the younger pitchers, including Junichi Tazawa. Francona said he was impressed with Lester.
“I thought he did good,” said Francona. “I thought he was a little frustrated with himself the other day on his side day, but I think today he felt a lot better. There’s no way you’re going to wake up every day during spring training and feel [good]. I thought he threw the ball very well.”
The biggest attraction of the morning was Casey Kelly. The club’s top pitching prospect looked and felt good during his session.
“I felt really good,” Kelly said. “It wasn’t bad. My adrenaline was flowing and it was good to finally face live hitters.”
Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell was also impressed by Kelly’s poise and the command he had of his pitches, especially the fastball and breaking ball.
“That’s not surprising because that’s what he does,” said Francona. “He has a lot of poise, which is good."
While the rest of the starting pitchers took to the hill, Daisuke Matsuzaka played catch again at 120 feet. The right-hander is expected to extend that to 150 feet on Saturday. He’ll eventually have a day off very soon, according to Francona.
“I think he feels good about himself,” said Francona. “You can tell by the way he’s throwing that he’s not nursing his way through it.”
If he continues to progress, there’s a possibility he could be on the mound early next week.
“When the medical people say he can do it, we’ll be happy to watch him throw,” said Francona.
As far as the rest of the rotation is concerned, Francona said he’ll be able to announce who will be starting the first few spring games, which begin on Wednesday with a split-squad game against Boston College and Northeastern.