Francona pushed for another pitcher

December, 16, 2009

BOSTON -- Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein heard plenty from those outside the organization about wanting to obtain a big-name bat this offseason, but one member inside the organization was constantly in his ear about getting another arm.

"Every time Theo asked me a question during the winter meetings, I would always say, 'A pitcher,' " said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "Now we have a chance to run out a solid pitcher every day and it's very exciting. Again, it's on paper right now, but it will be our responsibility to go down to spring training and make it all work. But it's very exciting."

Francona gushed about having a top of the rotation that features a trio of aces in Lackey, Josh Beckett, and Jon Lester. He's got plenty of depth at the back end as well in Tim Wakefield, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Clay Buchholz.

"It makes us all a lot smarter," Francona joked when asked about what Lackey's addition meant to Boston.

Francona wasn't the only coach on the team making a pitch for a pitcher. Thirteen years after striking out on his first recruiting attempt, pitching coach John Farrell had to be thrilled with the latest addition.

"John Farrell, he actually recruited me to go to Oklahoma State when he was there," said Lackey, who declined Farrell's offer. "I've talked to him several times about being with the Sox. I'm excited about it. I've heard nothing but good things about [my new teammates], about their work ethic. I'm ready to jump in with them, get it on."



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