Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Francona: We'll work through this
Red Sox manager Terry Francona acknowledged on Boston radio station WEEI on Wednesday that "not much has gone right" for his team in the past two weeks -- from Victor Martinez's inability to throw out runners to designated hitter David Ortiz's alarming slump -- but he backed away from possibly abandoning the strategy the Sox developed this winter.
"The way we've set our team up in the winter, I don't think we can just bail on our strategy a couple of weeks into the season," Francona said. "I know it's been a tough week all the way around. Not much has gone right. [Jason] Varitek will catch tonight, but that doesn't mean we are going to rework our whole situation. One move affects another. Rather than bail on our plans I think we've got to work our way through it. As a staff, on the field we are trying to do a better job of getting guys ready to play."
Francona said that despite Ortiz's obvious disappointment at being pulled for pinch-hitter Mike Lowell on Tuesday, he felt Ortiz handled the situation like a professional.
Ortiz, who saw nothing but fastballs Tuesday night, 19 in all, failed to put a single one in play. He's sitting on a .146 batting average and 17 strikeouts in 11 games.
Although he has pinch hit for David Ortiz and has sat him because of unfavorable matchups on several occasions this season, Terry Francona has insisted he isn't about to give up on his DH.
"I thought David actually handled it pretty well," Francona said on WEEI. "You guys probably look at things that I don't. You have time and probably enjoy it. I actually thought he handled himself. He was in the line at the end of the game when we won, looking about as happy as anybody. I don't expect anybody to come back high-fiving. That's not part of their competitive nature. Again, you talk all the time of putting the team first, and that's hard. This is a very proud guy who has had a lot of success here, and I certainly understand that probably more than anybody, just trying to do what's right by our team."
Francona added that he wasn't comfortable saying more about Ortiz's situation and any possible future scenarios.
"I know it's a hot-button issue," he said. "We try to do what's right for our team, and communicate it to guys, and that's what we have always done and that's what we will continue to do."
Ortiz, who is not in the lineup for Wednesday night's game, was seen in the afternoon taking early batting practice.
Francona also touched on the team's problems with opponents' running games, saying that part of Martinez's problem is that he's rushing his throws.
"He's trying to be too quick, and that's when the ball is sailing on him. It's happened three, four or five times. His arm strength is fine. When he tries to be a little too quick, that's when the ball sails on him and it's happened multiple times," he said.
He also took issue with Dustin Pedroia's comments on Monday that the team hasn't always been prepared to play.
"No, I don't know that I necessarily agree with that. I think it's early and I think we have a lot of new guys. I think it looks like that at times," Francona said. "Any time you struggle, every negative thing is going to be pointed out. We have a responsibility to check ourselves. You are either doing enough to win or enough to lose. Those things get swept under the table if you are winning, and even though they probably don't with our staff, but when you are losing everything is magnified. Everything you do wrong comes under the microscope."