Wednesday Red Sox Notes: Terry Francona, Daniel Bard, Daisuke Matsuzaka

BALTIMORE - Manager Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox removes Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 in the fifth inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

There's nothing more many of us would like for Terry Francona than to come to Fenway Park for the 100th anniversary of the park, along with all of the other living managers from team history. Francona isn't quite ready to forgive whoever it was that leaked or invented personal information about him to Bob Hohler last fall, though, and now that fact is public:

"Larry called me yesterday,'' Francona said Tuesday. "I was in a phone store in Arizona. I had three people standing around me. I was at a little bit of a disadvantage. He got a little perturbed at me, telling me I was being unfair to them. I called him back last night and left him a message. He called me back and we ended up getting into an argument. I just feel like someone in the organization went out of their way to hurt me and the more we talked I realized we're just not on the same wavelength. They're probably better off going forth and leaving me out of it.''

It's difficult to not side with Francona here, as he doesn't know if whoever is responsible is still with the organization or not. It's up to Francona to decide when (and if) he's ready to socialize with the Red Sox again. It's clear he's not at that point yet, and that's our loss when we celebrate Fenway's birthday this month.

Daniel Bard knows that batting average on balls in play wasn't on his side last night, but he also figures it will be eventually:

"Let's say half of those [groundballs] get fielded, which is a probably a normal night. If we catch three or four of those and get outs on them, that's probably three runs and about 30 pitches and I'm pitching into the seventh and giving up two runs," Bard said.

Bard understands the importance of grounders, the nuances of BABIP, and also induced 18 swings-and-misses last night. I know it's not a universal opinion, but I have high hopes for Bard as a starter, and listening to him talk about his start makes me more confident about it.

Now, if he could just start to use his change-up more often, then hitters might not be able to sit on his fastball like they did.

*****

We could sit around for hours discussing our favorite Frustrating Daisuke Matsuzaka Moments, but there's no denying that the idea of a healthy Dice-K is one that makes you think positively. The righty is hard at work trying to come back from Tommy John surgery, and the latest results from the rehab process are positive.

Dice-K was hitting 94 with his fastball in three innings of extended spring training. Bobby Valentine said, whether relayed to him by scouting reports or from watching video, that Matsuzaka threw a "real good change-up" but that he didn't have a "great feel for his slider." He's still a work-in-progress, and isn't expected back until the summer, but the fact he's throwing hard is a good sign.

*****

A few quick items:

Red Sox tickets are still the most expensive around, despite a price freeze this year. Might I suggest you use a secondary service? Just not until after I purchase some tickets, please.

Everyone's favorite Jon Bois, Jon Bois, details the Toronto field-stormer from Tuesday night's game. Between the half-streaker, the fan in center waving where hitters could see him, and the overly-loud audio that picks up the musings of the drunk, last night's game was tough to watch. Justin Thomas didn't help, either.

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