BOSTON -- While Manny Ramirez's return to Fenway Park will be the dominant theme of this weekend's Red Sox-Dodgers series, Joe Torre will also be back in Boston for the first time since 2007, when he was managing the Yankees.
Torre is in the midst of his third season as manager of the Dodgers. As fierce as the Boston-New York rivalry was, Red Sox fans always seemed to have a healthy amount of respect for Torre, who always carried himself with class.
When Torre returned to the dugout following his bout with prostate cancer in 1999, his first game back was at Fenway Park, and he got a huge ovation from the crowd.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona considers Torre a friend. It will be easier for the managers to be public about their friendship now that they aren't going against each other in perhaps the most heated rivalry in sports.
"I love Joe," Francona said. "I hope we beat his brains out. It's a little different now. Because he's not in New York, it's a little bit easier to say hello to somebody like that. People don't want to see that when you play the Yankees, so you stay away -- at least in public. And he did the same thing. I've got a lot of respect for Joe, though."
Dice-K throws 40-pitch side session
BOSTON -- Five days ago, Daisuke Matsuzaka was scratched just minutes before he was supposed to pitch against the Phillies. But the Red Sox right-hander was right back on the mound on Thursday, throwing a 40-pitch side session.
All went well, serving as further proof that the forearm strain that forced Matsuzaka's move to the disabled list was just a minor injury.
"He threw a 40-pitch side [session] and [pitching coach] Johnny [Farrell] said it was basically like a Day 2 side [session]. [It was] pretty normal. We'll certainly watch to see how he bounces back tomorrow," Francona said.
If Matsuzaka does bounce back nicely, he will throw a three-inning simulated game before Saturday's 4:10 p.m. ET game against the Dodgers.
"Maybe 12:15 -- something like that," Francona said. "It's hard, because it's an odd time of day. We'll probably get him up and down three innings, maybe 15 pitches each. That will just get him going in the right direction."
Lefty Felix Doubront will be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket and make his Major League debut on Friday night -- Matsuzaka's regular turn in the rotation.
Would Dice-K be able to return as early as his next slot in the rotation, which is June 24 in Colorado?
"I'm not eyeing anything," Francona said. "I just want to see how he does. That's getting a little bit ahead [of ourselves]. We'll see."
Papi looks forward to seeing Manny again
BOSTON -- David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez once formed one of the most potent Nos. 3-4 lineup combinations in baseball history, helping the Red Sox to a pair of World Series victories. On Friday, they will be reunited -- with both players serving as the designated hitter for their respective teams. Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers on July 31, 2008.
"It's just one of those times that you see your boy on the other side," Ortiz said. "It's crazy. Playing on the other side after all those years that you played together with him, it's pretty much the same feeling that I had when I saw Pedro [Martinez] pitching on the other side. You know what I'm saying?"
Though Ramirez and Ortiz had a close bond when they were teammates, it was mostly on the field and in the clubhouse. Ortiz indicated that they haven't talked much over the past couple of years.
"I haven't talked to him in a while," Ortiz said. "I even had problems talking to Manny when Manny was here. Manny always, I don't know what was going on with his phone. It was fun. But you see him just like you've seen him every day. He's got the same love for everyone, that crazy attitude that everyone knows. I think it's going to be cool seeing him again."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.