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Smith on road back; Francona wants a favor

By Sheldon Ocker Published: February 13, 2013

   Seventh-inning relief specialist Joe Smith said his sore oblique isn’t going to affect his readiness to begin the season on time.
  “”I’m already throwing from 75 feet,’’ he said. “”I should be throwing off the mound soon.’’ 
  Manager Terry Francona said that right-hander Trey Haley will be held back because of “”a balky shoulder.’’
  “”We’re going to hold him back for a week,’’ the manager said.
  Matt LaPorta, who underwent surgery to clean out his hip, isn’t expected to see game action until mid-March.
  “”Opening Day is not the finish line for him,’’ Francona said. “”And he knows that.’’       

  Chris Perez and Vinnie Pestano are scheduled to pitch for the Team USA in the WBC, but Francona will ask officials if they can return (from the other side of Phoenix) to pitch in an exhibition game during the tournament.
  “”I’m going to call (manager) Joe Torre and see if that’s all right,’’ the manager said. “”I don’t see that it would be a problem, but I’ll ask. It’s only 20 minutes away.’’


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