Francona Speaks. SoSHer Stu Nahan has some notes on Terry Francona's interview on WFAN yesterday. Among them: On On Foulke's usage: The bullpen is deep and it can help "shorten the game". Foulke can/will be used for more than 1 inning. ... On ownership: Theo and [Bill] James have the "ability to make me think about the game" and I "appreciate that". "We're in this together" and "we want to work together". ... On Boston: "I'm excited" and I know that there will be "37,000 assistant managers every night". Loves the passion of Boston and "understands people second guessing every move". When he makes moves, he has to "have a reason for doing it". If he doesn't, then he expects/deserves to get slammed.
Jackie MacMullan has a lengthy feature about Francona and how he "cheated death four times during a medical odyssey that included multiple knee surgeries, blood clots, staph infections, massive internal bleeding, and a near amputation of his leg. ... 'I'm probably lucky to be alive,' said Francona, in his first extensive comments regarding his ordeal. 'And I know I'm lucky to have all my limbs.'"
Derek Lowe talks to Gordon Edes in Fort Myers about his future with the Red Sox. Lowe believes that with the signing of Curt Schilling, either he or Pedro Martinez isn't coming back in 2005. He also reports that will be much better prepared this spring than in 2003. Last spring, Lowe missed a month of conditioning just before spring training because of his skin cancer surgery. "Missing that whole month last year just killed me. I'm not using it as an excuse, but mentally I knew I wasn't ready, and I tried to catch up way too fast. ... My mechanics, everything was a disaster." Compared to 2002, Lowe gave up more walks (72 to 48), hits (216 to 166), and home runs (17 to 12), and his ERA ballooned from 2.58 to 4.47. His record was 17-7 because he received the best run support in the AL. ... This year, Lowe has added 15 pounds (up to 240) and been working out regularly and has already put in two months of long-tossing and six bullpen sessions.
Hitting coach Ron Jackson on the black players that inspired him (Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Frank Robinson). ... John Burkett turned down the Yankees' NRI offer and has officially retired. ... Bartow Littell, 97, recalls fishing with Babe Ruth in the early 1920s in Florida.