02/22/11 3:15 PM EST
Sick Papelpon skips Tuesday's workout
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
Closer Jonathan Papelbon was in camp Tuesday, but he didn't participate in drills because he is battling flu-like symptoms. He was not in camp Sunday because he was attending to his wife, who was similarly ill.
"[Monday] was a big day, because it was his side day, and he got through the whole thing," Francona said. "He came out today and we kept him inside for the majority of the day. ... To bring him out would have been a mistake."
Right-hander Jason Bergmann has yet to start throwing, though his strength has improved as he battles shoulder discomfort.
Alfredo Aceves left camp on Monday to resolve a visa issue. The Mexico native is expected to receive the necessary documentation Wednesday morning.
Beckett to pitch Grapefruit League opener
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Perhaps the most crucial arm in the Red Sox's rotation will have the first crack at game action against a Major League team this spring.
Josh Beckett is Sunday's scheduled starter against the Twins across town in Fort Myers. Right-handers Clay Buchholz and Brandon Duckworth will follow Beckett in the 7:05 p.m. ET contest at Hammond Stadium.
Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his Grapefruit League debut on Monday against Minnesota at City of Palms Park in a 1:05 p.m. start.
The Red Sox will open their spring exhibition slate Saturday, when they host Boston College and Northeastern University in a doubleheader. Stolmy Pimentel, Michael Bowden and Jason Rice are scheduled to pitch vs. BC at 1:05 p.m., with Kyle Weiland, Alex Wilson and Rich Hill throwing in the 6 p.m. nightcap.
Lucchino: We won't let Adrian get away
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In an interview on WEEI on Tuesday, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino confirmed what was essentially already known: Adrian Gonzalez will be in a Boston uniform for a long time.
"We're not going to let him get away," Lucchino said on the Dennis & Callahan Morning Show. "We're going to get him signed for sure."
Since the day Gonzalez was introduced in a Boston cap in December, the belief has been that he and the Red Sox have a long-term extension -- or at the least, a very good idea of one -- in place. According to multiple reports, parameters are in place for a seven-year, $154 million contract that will become formalized perhaps at the beginning of the regular season. That way, the club's luxury tax for 2011 won't be adversely affected.
Gonzalez bumped his swings off a tee from 20 to 30 on Tuesday as he continues to work toward game clearance.
"Everything went fine," manager Terry Francona said. "He has the option to take a down day tomorrow and come back the next day or to go a third day in a row. We've tried to encourage him to maybe take tomorrow [off], but we'll see how he feels. If he shows up and he's that enthusiastic, we'll leave it up to him."
Gonzalez underwent surgery on his right shoulder a little more than four months ago and began hitting off a tee on Monday. He is expected to play Opening Day on April 1 in Texas.
Red Sox reportedly to pick up Francona's option
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Not thought to be in peril when it comes to his job security, manager Terry Francona will have his contract extended when this season ends, according to an Internet report.
Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman said via Twitter that Francona's two-year option at $4.5 million per year would be activated after this season. The Red Sox have not commented on the report, and Francona told Heyman he was unaware of the decision.
General manager Theo Epstein's own deal is reported to expire after the 2011 season, though team owner John Henry said earlier in the week he didn't know when Epstein's contract was up.
It would be hard to imagine either the manager, who took over after the 2003 season, or general manager, who is entering his ninth season in the position, leaving since they've worked together superbly.
"The biggest way you can judge it is that we're going on our eighth year now in a really crazy place, and if you didn't have an extremely strong relationship, you'd have no chance in this market," Francona said after the club's workout Tuesday. "There's a lot of trust."
Of course, the two have had, and will continue to have, their disagreements. Francona said he has gone to Epstein and asked specifically for help, the rushing of Cla Meredith in 2005 being the oft-cited example -- but one has to believe it happens more than that.
"We have our moments. You're supposed to," Francona said. "I don't think he'd want to have somebody be the manager and not have a strong opinion, and I value his opinion a lot. He knows that. I also know when the chips are down in the really tough times, I know where I can turn."
Francona has a good perspective on his role compared to Epstein's.
"I've learned a lot," Francona said. "Being a manager, you're worried about today. Being the general manager, you've got to be a little bit more of a caretaker of the organization. I've learned to respect that a little bit more. Opening Day is not the end of the world."