Lowell, who is recovering from offseason thumb surgery on his right hand, took his first swings of the spring, while Matsuzaka threw off a mound for the first time this year.
Francona said that Lowell had “a real good day” but that it’s too early to say the veteran is ready to be penciled into any lineups.
“There’s gotta be a progression, not only with his thumb, but running the bases, repeating some things,” Francona told the assembled media in Fort Myers. “I don’t think we can put a timetable on it yet, I just don’t think it’s going to be in the next five, six days. I don’t think that’s realistic. I’m not sure that’s in his best interest.”
In the case of Matsuzaka, Francona was a bit more optimistic.
“Dice had a great day,” Francona said. “He ended up getting more aggressive, way out there, [throwing from] 180, 200 [feet], finished up on the mound. That was about a good a day as you could have. I don’t think you can throw the ball like that and not be totally healthy.
“That was a real, real good day.”
Francona explained that when Matsuzaka threw off the mound, the catcher was standing up, so it wasn’t quite a side session just yet. The manager said he expects Matsuzaka will be ready for such throwing by the end of the week.
Francona also offered an update on Mike Cameron, who will not be fully participating for the next couple of days with a sore groin. Cameron took the field with the outfielders but didn’t participate in the drills, but he did “everything else” and he “has improved.”