Notes: Hit batsmen irk Francona

Notes: Hit batsmen irk Francona

TAMPA, Fla. -- What was Red Sox manager Terry Francona's view of Mike Lowell getting hit in the left buttocks by a Tanyon Sturtze offering in the top of the eighth inning?

"I wasn't too pleased about it," said Francona.

What would a Red Sox-Yankees game -- even an exhibition contest -- be without a mini-controversy.

To set up the situation, former Sox lefty Mike Myers hit J.T. Snow on the right triceps in the top of the seventh. Then new Sox reliever David Riske hit Yankees captain Derek Jeter on the back with a splitter in the bottom of the seventh.

And it was the first pitch of that eighth when Lowell got hit, causing home plate umpire Wally Bell to issue a warning to both sides.

"Derek got hit with a split," Francona said. "We knew it, they knew it. It just happened. ... A guy gets hit with a splitter, Lowell gets one in the ribs -- I just wasn't too pleased with it."

Naturally, the Yankees didn't share Francona's viewpoint.

"I don't care if they get upset," Sturtze said. "They can get upset at whatever they want. I was trying to go fastball in and I got it in too deep. I don't care who gets upset. I'm still trying to work on my command. I've been struggling this whole spring."

"We're still trying to get in shape," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It's Spring Training."

For what it's worth, Lowell didn't seem all that worked up about the situation.

"I think [the umpires] just didn't want anything to get out of hand," Lowell said. "I don't make anything of it. [Sturtze] was protecting Jeter; they thought we hit him. It was no big deal."

Papelbon finishes strong: In what was likely to be his last start of Spring Training before moving to the bullpen, Jonathan Papelbon turned in a strong outing against the Yankees, allowing five hits and two runs over five innings.

Bernie Williams tagged him for a solo homer, but Papelbon was sharp otherwise.

Though Papelbon hasn't officially heard he's bound for the bullpen, he can add. The Red Sox will only use five starting pitchers, and as long as Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Matt Clement and David Wells are healthy, there are no vacancies.

"There's a chance. We'll see what happens. It's still up in the air," Papelbon said. "I don't know anything as of now, but we'll see what happens in the next three, four, five days, the next week. Hopefully they'll let me know what's going on."

Regardless of where he winds up, Papelbon thinks that being a regular member of the rotation this spring has been beneficial to his development.

"I feel like I've done a lot of learning this spring," Papelbon said. "I've been put in a situation to learn. I think this Spring Training for me was very valuable."

Francona didn't evaluate Papelbon on a pitch-by-pitch basis this spring, because he knew that wasn't necessary.

"He's not a young kid trying to make our staff," Francona said. "He's a young veteran. He's proven what he's worth to us. He's just trying to get ready for the season."

Pena's pop: Wily Mo Pena showed a glimpse of why the Red Sox traded for him when he launched a towering solo shot over the wall in left for a two-run homer against Yankees starter Shawn Chacon in the fourth inning.

For Pena, who didn't play an exhibition game for the Reds this spring because of his World Baseball Classic obligations, it was his first homer of the spring.

"Holy cow. That's a strong man right there," said Papelbon. "That's a well-hit ball."

Pena, who played right field, also made a nice catch against the wall and a strong throw to second base.

Manny under the lights: Superstar slugger Manny Ramirez was not scheduled to make the trip to Tampa for Wednesday's game. So why was he there? Because he wanted to be.

"He wanted to see some pitches under the lights," Francona said. "We gladly made the change."

Ramirez went 0-for-2 as his Spring Training average dipped to .370.

Francona gave rave reviews when asked to evaluate Ramirez's camp.

"I would say stellar," Francona said. "He's worked hard in the outfield, he's stayed in the middle of the field with his at-bats. He's got a pretty good idea of what he's trying to do. He said he'd come into camp and be ready to go, and he was."

Juan Gonzo: Just a few days after signing two-time American League MVP Juan Gonzalez to a Minor League contract, the Red Sox weren't sure when or if he will join the team.

Gonzalez's interest in the Red Sox figures to have waned now that Pena has been added to the mix.

There was even a rumor surfacing that Gonzalez had reversed courses and opted to sign with the A's.

"Well, then he probably is," Francona said. "I don't see him. I never saw him show up. From his point of view, once we got Wily Mo, this was probably not the best place for him to be."

Coming up: The Red Sox send right-hander Matt Clement to the mound for Thursday's 1:05 p.m. ET contest at Hammond Stadium against the Twins.

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.