Terry Francona was in Hartford on Friday night to be the keynote speaker at UCONN’s annual preseason baseball dinner. But instead of telling you the details of the dinner, I’d rather point out these comments that Francona made (From the Hartford Courant).

“I think our bullpen will dictate our success. We have a right to be optimistic, but we have to answer some questions. If we answer them successfully, this is going to be a lot of fun.”

When asked about using a closer-by-committee approach:

“The idea of using a guy in situations, on paper, is outstanding. In reality, you just can’t do it. You have to designate roles. We might be down a run or tied and we bring them in. That’s more how I feel.”

His thoughts on the pitcher’s roles during the beginning of spring training:

“It won’t happen early. We’ll tell the pitchers that. If they try to compete the first week of camp, that’s not what they need to do. We need them to establish arm strength, work on mechanics and throw strikes, and then there will be the time to kick it into gear and we’ll talk to them about that.”

Francona’s thoughts about Jon Lester returning:

“We’re not going to let him hurt himself because he’s competitive and a great kid. We’ll get advice from the medical people. He’s been working hard, and he’s been through a pretty traumatic offseason, but we will look out for his best interests, long term. We’ll be very careful with him.”

His thoughts on the language barrier with Matsuzaka:

“The lack of communication is going to be frustrating at times. There’s no way to get around it. But after eight good innings, I can pat any guy on the fanny in any language.”

Some really interesting quotes from the fearless leader of the beloved Boston Red Sox. What are your impressions of what Francona had to say? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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