BOSTON -- The starting rotation an utter disappointment through the first 10 games of the season, Red Sox manager Terry Francona says that new pitching coach Curt Young is handling the situation as well as possible.
"Well, I think he's the easiest guy in the world to talk to," Francona said. "He's got that quiet confidence and real easy demeanor. All the things you heard the pitchers in Oakland talk about, you can kind of see why that's true. When he talks to you, he just talks to you. It's kind of like when [hitting coach Dave Magadan] talks hitting, the things he says seem so common sense to him. Then when you walk away, you say, 'that makes a lot of sense.' He doesn't miss much during a game. He doesn't miss too much."
Boston starters have produced just two quality starts over the first 10 games. Following Josh Beckett's masterpiece on Sunday night, Daisuke Matsuzaka got shellacked on Monday, giving up seven runs over the first two innings.
Francona is confident the pitching staff can turn it around, helped by Young's tutelage.
"He won't panic either," Francona said. "We all certainly want to do our jobs the best we can. There's a reason he's here. We think a lot of this guy. A time and a half through the rotation won't change how we feel."
Gonzalez back in lineup after being hit Sunday
BOSTON -- Adrian Gonzalez was no worse for the wear, a day after taking a CC Sabathia pitch off the knuckle and two fingers of his left hand.
The first baseman was back in manager Terry Francona's lineup on Monday night, hitting third against the Rays.
"It hit my knuckle and two fingers. It actually just made it numb -- it didn't give it pain or anything," Gonzalez said. "It just made it numb for a while, so I just kept moving it just to make sure I kept the feeling there. Any time you get hit especially on the bone, you're always worried. But there wasn't any pain, just tingling and numbness so I think I'll be alright."
The last thing the Red Sox need at this point is an injury to one of their cornerstone hitters.
"He's fine. No complaints," Francona said. "I think he probably made us more nervous. Probably him too. But by the time he ran the bases, I think he felt like he was OK."
Wheeler reunites with Rays in Sox uniform
BOSTON -- Carl Crawford wasn't the only Boston player having a reunion on Monday night.
For Dan Wheeler, an important part of Tampa Bay's bullpen the last three-and-a-half years, it was also his first meeting with his former team since signing with the Red Sox.
"There's a lot of different faces over there, a lot of familiar faces there," said Wheeler. "At the same time, I have to go out there, and there's a job to be done. Since I'm going out there to face them for the first time, they're going to try to get a hit and I'm going to try to get them out."
Wheeler, who didn't pitch in the three-game series against the Yankees, posted an 11.57 ERA in his first three outings with the Red Sox.
Should Wheeler pitch in this series, does the familiarity favor the righty or his former team?
"It will be interesting," Wheeler said. "I still have to make the pitches and they still have to hit them. I believe that's going to be the case. I guess they've never seen me from the box and I've never seen them in the box."
What does Wheeler think is the difference between his new manager [Terry Francona] and his old one [Joe Maddon]?
"Well, I guess Tito is a little more traditional and Joe is a little more out there," Wheeler said. "That works for them, it really does. I really enjoy both aspects of it. Joe, he thinks outside the box. That's good. He's good, he really is, I don't know how else to describe it. He's a little out there, but in a good way."