Morning notes: Sox happy to see Bay

March, 11, 2010
3/11/10
12:33
PM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- It’s unusual for a bunch of veteran players to want to take the three-hour trek across Florida to play in a spring training game, but when the Grapefruit League schedule was announced, a number of Red Sox players knew they would want to make the trip here just to see former teammate Jason Bay.

Bay, the former Red Sox left fielder who signed a four-year, $66 million deal with the New York Mets during the offseason, received hugs from Red Sox players when the club arrived at Tradition Field.

“He’s a very popular teammate,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “Just because he changed uniforms, it takes away nothing from what he did. The day he walked into our clubhouse, he was solid. He’s a good guy. The business side of the game doesn’t change how you feel about people. I know the business side isn’t always fun. There are difficult decisions, but that doesn’t change how you feel about people.”

Here are some other brief notes from this morning’s scrum with Francona:

* The weather here today could be bad with rain expected right around first pitch at 1:05 p.m. Francona hopes starter John Lackey will at least be able to work his scheduled three innings.

* Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is working his way back after a mild back strain delayed his spring, will throw live batting practice on Saturday at the minor league complex.

* Francona was thinking he might put Jason Varitek in lineup against the Cardinals on Friday at Jupiter, Fla., but the weather report is bad and the manager doesn’t think it would be a good idea. Francona told both Varitek and third baseman Adrian Beltre to stay in Fort Myers. Varitek has missed several days of camp due to his ailing father.

* It’s not etched in stone, but there’s a very good chance Mike Lowell will be able to play against the Twins on Monday. “We’ll see how he gets through the rest of the week,” Francona said.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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