Every Sunday we tape a pre-game interview with PawSox manager Ron Johnson. He is always forthcoming and gives us whatever we need to do our job. (It also helps that he gets a $25 gift certificate to Gregg’s Restaurant- he loves “Death by Chocolate”) On this particular Sunday, as we discussed the “gospel according to RJ” we covered a variety of topics.
On Satuday’s 3-2 win over Syracuse- “I thought pitching was the key to the win. (Jeff) Bailey hit the home run early and they shut our offense down for 8 innings. When you’re in a siituation like that, you have to hold their offesne down until we can score. I thought Buch (Clay Buchholz) did an outstanding job. Marcus McBeth and Hunter Jones allowed us to be in that position to win the game. I thought it was outstanding.” Jones and McBeth combined for 3 perfect innings of relief and Buchholz gave up one earned run in six innings.
On the PawSox inability to drive home runs on a consistent basis- “There’s no mystery here. We watch it on (ESPN) SportsCenter every night. These guys know it. Botom line is someone gets on base and someone else hits one into the gap or out of the park. Jeff Bailey’s been with me a long time and we were kidding around. He said “you love the homer”- I said “Bails, I just love to win.” They don’t show you highlights on ESPN of singles and walks and ground balls because those teams don’t win. They show the home runs. I know this ballclub has the potential. We have guys who can carry the club. If Chris Carter gets hot…If Jeff Bailey gets hot…Dusty Brown and others. I’m hoping that we’re getting to the point where we’re going to get after it.”
On the two triple plays turned this week by the PawSox- ” I’m going to be known for that. When I was a young manager I thought I was going to be aggressive and steal bases all the time. You send the guys, there’s a line drive and bang bang there’s a triple play. I got scared and stopped sending runners. Two triple plays in four days?? That’s amazing.”
On catcher Mark Wagners’ promotion to Pawtucket from AA Portland- “I’m excited anytime a young prospect comes up. He’s earned it, he’s played well down there. Every time this happens, I think about Jason McLeod and the scouting department and the great job they consistently have done getting great players. We are ready to see another one. Right now I’m planning on using Wagner one night and Brown the other. It worked with Dusty and (George) Kottaras last season. I think it’s healthy. They can all help the big league club. We had to put Carlos Maldonado on the disabled list with a calf strain. He’s a veteran and having Wagner and Brown around him in the clubhouse is invaluable. When he comes back, we’ll have a lot of depth. John Ottness was sent back to Portland. He did a great job while he was here. He’ll go to Double A and get a chance to play every day.’
On the progress of Jed Lowrie and his M.L. rehab from wrist surgery- “Jed’s coming along fine. He played six innings Saturday. He’ll DH today. He’ll get some lefthanded at bats. Since he joined us he’s hit righty since we’ve faced primarily lefthanded pitchers. With Jed we are kind of taking it inning by inning, at bat by at bat. We’ll see how he feels. He’s coming along nicely.”