04/12/07 7:30 PM ET
Notes: Sox plan steady rest for Drew
Pena's availability gives right fielder opportunity to stay fresh
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
Drew, the only Boston player to get a hit in each of the season's first eight games, would have been replaced in Thursday's lineup by Wily Mo Pena if not for the rainout. Instead, Drew's day off was everyone's day off.
Nonetheless, it is part of Francona's outline to get Drew a break every 10 games or so.
"Again, I told J.D. a couple of days ago, 'We're kind of leaning toward doing this,'" Francona said. "It looks like it makes sense. We've got Wily Mo, who we really want to get at-bats. We have J.D., who we want to play a lot of games because he's a good player. If you go up about every 10 games or so, depending on travel, night game, day game, I think the math works out pretty well. I think he agrees and understands it."
Despite the .393 average Drew has put together over the season's first eight games, he would have been fine with watching Thursday's game as a spectator. The miserable weather conditions that eventually postponed the game probably didn't hurt his perspective, either.
"It's kind of good to know those things beforehand," Drew said. "It gives you kind of a chance to mentally take a break from everything. Not only that, but you get a physical rest, where if you need extra work, you can get it. If you don't, you can just kind of let your body have a pretty good rest. I think it will work out well."
Drew will be in the lineup on Friday night against the Angels.
The free-agent signee has benefited his overall peace of mind by getting off to such a good start.
"I think it's critical," Drew said. "I think every player wants to get a good start off to the season. In L.A. a couple of years ago, I started off 0-for-25. I hit balls hard; I had it all figured out where seven or eight of them could have been hits. They all translated into outs.
"Those are tough, because you want to make a good impression on your new teammates and the city you're playing for. But more than anything, to get a good start under your belt, you can get the comfort level to fall into place and give yourself a good, positive attitude going into every game."
And in this case, Drew even took a positive attitude into a game he wasn't scheduled to play.
Quite an impression: Wednesday's one-hit masterpiece by Mariners ace Felix Hernandez was still a topic of conversation a day later.
Who was the best pitcher Francona faced in his career?
"For me, nobody came close to [Nolan] Ryan," Francona said. "Nobody came close to him."
Lighting it up on the farm: Right-hander Devern Hansack continues to show why the Red Sox are so high on him as a late-blooming prospect. Wednesday marked the second time in as many starts that Hansack notched 10 strikeouts for Triple-A Pawtucket. He is 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA.
On deck: Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (0-1, 1.50 ERA), after having his start rained out on Thursday, will open up a four-game series against the Angels on Friday night at Fenway Park. He'll be opposed by Angels ace John Lackey (2-0, 0.75 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.