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Terry Francona Q&A

Ian Browne from the official Red Sox website conducted a very nice interview with Red Sox skipper Terry Francona.

I must say, I do like Francona. He occassionally makes a decision that I don't agree with, but for the most part he's been a pretty good manager of the Red Sox. One of his best characteristics is how nice the guy is, and I think that translates well to the fans. Don't get me wrong, though. I love it when he opens up on an umpire for a bad call. They are rare moments, but they're always great.

Here's Francona on Curt Schilling's health: Have you spoken much with Curt Schilling this offseason and how is he doing?

Francona: Yeah, I've talked to him quite a bit. I've talked to not only Schill, but the people that work him out. I think he's doing OK. He feels pretty good about himself. He's stepped up his intensity. I think he's raring to go.

Francona on Keith Foulke: Similarly with Foulke, have you been able to touch base with him?

Francona: I have not talked to Foulkie, he's a hard guy to run down. I will say this, I've heard from our trainers and our strength and conditioning guy [recently] and they say he's doing outstanding. They said his program has been a very intense program. His weight is down, his knees are good. They were really raving about him. So that was really good news. He's such a weapon. If you can count him in at the back of the bullpen, pencil him in and say, 'We have Foulkie for this,' it really makes it easier to use the other guys.

Fracona on Kevin Youkilis and J.T. Snow: It looks like Kevin Youkilis is finally going to get some at-bats. I know you've enjoyed watching him in limited time the last couple of years. How much do you look forward to seeing what he does with this opportunity?

Francona: A lot. He deserves it. We're going to split it up with him and J.T. Snow, and some of it depends on how they're swinging the bat, that's the way the game is. That's the way it's supposed to be. But he's going to definitely play a lot and I think he deserves it and I think he'll be able to handle it. I think on our side of it, having J.T. come in and kind of help him out a little bit is good too. We have a guy who is a Gold Glove caliber defender. I think it just bodes well for us. I think they complement each other very well.

What Francona says right there scares me. "Split it up" between Snow and Youkilis? No. I want Youkilis to get the vast majority of at-bats. Obviously Francona isn't going to say that Snow won't receive any at-bats, but he shouldn't scare us either by saying that. Snow isn't the player he used to be, and we need to see Youkilis with 500+ at-bats to see what we can get out of him. Let's hope Francona doesn't fall into the "let the veteran get way too much playing time than what he deserves" hole. Snow may hit well -- it's possible -- I just don't want to see Snow struggle, but still get at-bats (ala Kevin Millar).