Francona Says Dice-K Drama Is Water Under the Bridge


Jul 29, 2009

Tuesday was a big day for the Red Sox.

The bullpen issued its second-most debilitating collapse of the year. Somewhere lost in the fold, Jim Rice's jersey was retired at Fenyway Park. And, most notoriously, $100-million-man Daisuke Matsuzaka publicly called out the team for allegedly interfering with his effectiveness as a pitcher.

The fact that a player passive aggressively dissed the team via the media was bad enough — but the fact that it was Dice-K, someone who is always, always seen and not heard, made it even worse.

Manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Jon Farrell were disappointed with his comments. (That, at least, is the word they chose to use publicly.) Farrell even went so far as to suggest that until the Japanese star learns how to get his innings count up and his pitch count down, he should keep his mouth shut.

But it appears that, contrary to speculation, this relationship can be salvaged. During his weekly radio appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holley Show," Francona said he spoke to the starting pitcher on Wednesday morning and he expects the hubbub to "blow over."

"I talked to Daisuke again today on the way to the ballpark and explained to him how this is going to work," Francona said. "And the thing I said is, not everybody is perfect. We all make mistakes. What is important is how we move on after we make those mistakes."

According to Francona, Dice-K was very receptive during the discussion.

"He was actually great," he said. "I think he owned up to the fact that he made the mistake. I think it transpired a little bit differently than I understood at the time. I don't think he ran out of here and ran to somebody and vented."

Still, though, fans and media alike are speculating over whether Boston will get too fed up with Dice-K's antics to patch up the relationship. And the fact that Francona downplayed the incident means relatively nothing — after all, he never publicly indicated that Manny Ramirez was wreaking havoc on Boston's clubhouse until he was shipped out of town.

Hopefully, this issue will be resolved. Hopefully, Dice-K and the Sox will learn how to communicate effectively. And if they can't, then hopefully, someone else will want to take a chance on him.

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