Terry Francona Discusses J.D. Drew, Plans for Revamped Bullpen

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — On the day set aside for pitchers and catchers to report, Terry Francona met with his coaching staff to go over the entire organizational roster. Naturally, he was posed questions that ran the gamut. Here is a sample of the topics discussed Sunday at the Red Sox Player Development Complex:

On the team?s expectations
"I think our expectations are high, and they should be. Our goals on the field will never change. Whatever your talent is perceived, I can never imagine playing the game differently."

On J.D. Drew and his sore hamstring
"We?re going to try not to let it be [an issue]. It?s something he has voiced some concern about. He saw Dr. [James] Andrews. I don?t think he?s real concerned about it, but it?s been there. We?ll certainly monitor it."

On the biggest questions entering spring training
"We have some obvious competitions in bullpen, some young guys who want to get their legs underneath them. We have some left-handers coming into camp that are really interesting. … I think we get enjoyment or challenge out of everything. We want to get the most out of everyone that comes through our doors."

On having so many pitchers to look at in camp this year
"I was pleased with our depth. For various reasons and we?ve all seen them, things don't always go right or guys don?t pitch too good or they get hurt. We need that depth but I also think that guys complement each other, which I think is important. When you set up your roster … it certainly helps."

On Dustin Pedroia being held back or not
"I don't know about going slower. I think when he does his work we need to break it up in segments. … We'll keep an eye on him. For as much as he talks, and he likes to talk, he?s pretty honest with me."

On the catching situation
"I think we've been pretty open about it. We have [Jason Varitek]and [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] and I think we're pretty comfortable with that, maybe more than people realize. Salty's had a tremendous winter. Again, you've got a guy that?s potentially a power-hitting, switch-hitting catcher. If that doesn't come to fruition right away, that?s not the end of the world. We love the way he wants to run the game and he aspires to run the game and Tek's in a good spot. He feels good about where he is and that makes us feel better.?

On the rumors surrounding Jonathan Papelbon this offseason
"I just want him to get a bunch of saves. It looks like he?s in great shape. I don?t think this is as much of an issue for Pap as maybe it was for people talking about Pap. Right away when we signed [Bobby] Jenks I was in touch with Pap and he knew where I stood on this. So I don?t think it was much of an issue.

On Papelbon's contract year
"I think it?ll motivate him. I don?t think he?s ever been real hesitant to say that. He aspires to be one of the high-bar, or however you say it. That?s OK."

On whether having only one reserve infielder, Jed Lowrie, is enough
"Depends on our health. Because Jed can play everywhere it gives you almost an extra player, but if we weren't healthy that would be another situation. It could save us and allow us another pitcher. There's a lot of things it could do, but if we?re not healthy it wouldn?t work either."

On how to handle Jenks this spring
"Slower. He?s done long tossing. He?s not been off the mound yet. That?s the way he?s always done it. I wouldn?t be surprised if we don?t see him in a game the first week. Doesn't need to be. He?s always been an extremely slow spring training pitcher. There?s no reason to rush him into games."

On Jenks accepting his new role and what it does for the team
"I think he was comfortable doing that. We wanted to get some help. We were trying to go to Bard too much last year, or wanting to go to Bard too much. I don't think we did, but it was always an obstacle. You get another guy, if he's throwing the ball like he can he can, getting lefties, righties, that should really help us. Too many games we either lost or had chances to win and couldn?t because it got away from us in the seventh or eighth.

"Anytime you get somebody that is willing to come because they think they have a chance to win, it?s exciting."

On Bard, who will be used interchangeably with Jenks
"Bard is probably the ultimate weapon in the bullpen. He has that ability like probably no other reliever in the league … to come in, finish an inning and go back out. And we?ll use that to our advantage. He doesn?t mind it. I think he actually thrives on it."

Francona indicated that both Alfredo Aceves and Dennys Reyes will be in camp in a few days later after getting some visa work done. Aceves could be one of 11 pitchers in camp, including Tim Wakefield and Felix Doubront, whom Francona wants to stretch out throughout the course of spring training so that they are able to start once the season begins.

Because of three days with split-squad games before March 12, there will be plenty of opportunities for pitchers who need to stretch out to get their work in.

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