10/02/07 6:19 PM ET
Workout day interview with Francona
Red Sox manager talks about leaving Wakefield off roster
By / MLB.com
There are times when you absolutely probably need to not only not have a stolen base, but you don't want the attempt, sometimes from second to third, you'll actually hold a runner there.If somebody hits the ball by Pedroia, I'll take the blame because we don't want our pitcher getting stuck in between leaving a pitch up and taking a hit. I think every situation's a little bit different. We know their style. I think by being aware of it and somewhat respecting it, not fearing it but being ready for it, it will help us be ready to handle it. Two roster related questions: One is what went into the decision to have a third catcher on the roster? What kind of flexibility does he give and does he give you? And how healthy do you think Coco is going into this series? TERRY FRANCONA: Second one's easy: I think Coco's real healthy. I don't think I need to elaborate. Because I think he feels real good. We're trying to be very careful at the end of the season and we did a good job of that and he looks good. His legs look fresh, and he has some life in his body and his eyes don't look kind of glazed over like they did for a few days. He's doing okay. First part, the catchers, in the five game series I think we felt comfortable going ten pitchers as long as there was health. So we try to maximize everybody on the roster by having the third catcher. We want Ellsbury to be able to impact games, if needed, and that can mean running for a number of different people. Again, now we have a catcher that we're comfortable with. We actually have two catchers we're comfortable with, but they have a little bit different skill set, so hopefully we can use both and just maximize the strengths of our players. What kind of a threat, weapon can Ellsbury be in a post season situation? TERRY FRANCONA: He's got the kind of speed that can change a game. He can hopefully run for just about anybody in a game changing situation, and we can put somebody else in the game. We have Hinske, we have a couple catchers. We can put somebody in the outfield, if need be. We can have Ellsbury play the outfield the last couple innings, if need be. There are some ways that he can help us, hopefully, win games. A lot of people have made parallels between Ellsbury's possible role in the playoffs this year and Dave Roberts in 2004. Do you see any parallels between the two and what he's going to be asked to do? TERRY FRANCONA: What Dave Roberts did was very, very special. It was about six inches from not being special. You know, I mean, those types of things. That's why they bring him back in the winter, and they have a video and all that. But this kid can impact games. Everybody always wants the Dave Roberts, you've got to have the Dave Roberts. That was Dave Roberts. And it was one instance and it was awesome. But this is more, I think long term thinking of multiple games, you know even defensively, possibly pinch hitting, scoring from second, playing a couple games in the outfield or couple innings in the outfield, something like that. As far as we've talked a little bit about the way that the Angels play a different sort of style ball with the speed and the bunting and whatnot. Is there anyway that you think that playing in a small ballpark like this one helps you guys deal with those weapons better than if it was in a larger park? TERRY FRANCONA: Well, they're not changing the bases. I mean, if they wanted to move them back a couple feet, we would probably take it. No, home field, we play here 81 games and I think we're somewhat built for this ballpark. We get to hit last. Hopefully that and the fact that we play better than them, because that's what it's ultimately going to come down to, will make a difference. I know that at their place they have one of best home records in baseball. So getting them here, hopefully that will mean something. Ultimately it's going to be determined who plays better. When it comes to teaching your pitchers how to attack Vladimir Guerrero, what are some of the unique challenges he presents to the pitching staff? TERRY FRANCONA: In a nutshell, and I've said this before, there's not a pitch that's thrown that he doesn't think he can hit. And, unfortunately, he actually does hit some of them. He seems to hit balls six inches off the ground. When you go over how to pitch him, throwing him a strike on the black is not necessarily a good pitch. Sometimes you have to attack him off the plate in and out, because he can reach so much and with so much authority. Can you talk about the impact of Orlando Cabrera on the team. TERRY FRANCONA: I hope there's no impact. He's a good player and we've certainly seen his ability to play the game under these situations and be comfortable. He's a very good baseball player. I hope we're not giving him a whole lot of situations where he's out on second, waving his helmet to the crowd. But he's a good player. We certainly know that and respect that. Just talk about Beckett's post season experience. Just wondering what you think pitchers specifically can draw off of when they have experience like he has in the postseason. TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think experience can be bad. Any experience you have has certainly got to help with comfort. It doesn't mean you're going to win or lose a game though. But there's going to be some guys that have no experience going in that we hope carry huge loads with us winning. But I don't think any experience is bad. I mean, as a young kid and he did okay then. So I think it's more important how you play. When you were talking about Beckett earlier, you were basically saying that this is the year he became an ace, it sounded like. Do you think that that growth meant something to him? TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, yeah. -- to become that? TERRY FRANCONA: I think he cares a lot about how he's perceived in the game and what his goals are in the game. He's got some pretty lofty goals. He wants to be good for a long time. I think you can say that and you can go show it, and I think he's done the latter. He's worked incredibly hard, incredibly consistent. When young pitchers come here, we point towards Beckett and say, follow him. When Clay Buchholz was out here, we said, follow him. He backs up his words with some pretty serious actions. He's been a monster in his workouts, and I think he's got a lot of talent, but he's worked awful hard. You may have done it in 2004, I didn't see it. Did you have the pitchers do PFPs? TERRY FRANCONA: Yes, we had a little meeting with the business players to go over some meetings we needed to go over. And rather than bore the pitchers, we let them take the time to go catch some grounders and move around out there. Just to eliminate some time where they don't have to stand around and shag. Didn't have anything to do with the Tigers experience last year, did it? TERRY FRANCONA: No, no, no. No, one PFP isn't going to -- just trying to cover everything, get the blood flowing. You've had some success against Lackey this year. What have you done well against him and how is that figuring into preparing for this game? TERRY FRANCONA: We certainly know him as he knows us. We've had a couple games where we got to him and did a good job. Drove his pitch count up on, and we've seen what he can do like he did the other day against Oakland. I think he's also a true ace. I think they feel and Scioscia will say that about him, too. We'll have our hands full. We know that. That's, I think, what this time of year is supposed to be when you play baseball. It should be interesting. We respect what he can do. That's a good way to go into it. Just kind of a follow up talking about John Lackey: Why do you think you've been able to have such success against him in the past? TERRY FRANCONA: I don't want to go through our whole scouting report. I don't think that's appropriate. We have some good hitters, at times, in this ballpark. And circumstances are different. Last time he pitched here, that was a crazy day game when they got here, what, 4:00 in the morning? So who knows. Sometimes the schedule has something to do with it. Sometimes the way guys are throwing, the way guys are hitting. There are a lot of different reasons. Tomorrow will be a different game into itself and what happened two months ago won't matter.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.