"He can get righties out because of his breaking ball and the sink on his fastball," Francona said. "We'll see. We won't be afraid to use him, that's for sure."
Hansack, 29, opened eyes last year by throwing a five-inning no-hitter against Baltimore on the final day of the regular season for his first Major League victory. Hansack had been out of American professional baseball for two years before signing with the Red Sox and mainly pitching last season with Double-A Portland, where he posted an 8-7 record with a 3.26 ERA.
Though Hansack pitched well this spring, compiling a 2.08 ERA in five appearances and throwing three perfect innings in a start against the Rays, the Sox had no room for him on their 25-man roster and sent him to Minor League camp on March 25.
"To me, there was no disappointment," Hansack said. "I knew it was hard. There was a lot of competition. I just waited my turn."
Now that his turn has come, Hansack, who wears No. 46, said he won't have a problem going from starting to relieving.
"Before, it used to be [hard to adjust]," he said. "I was relieving in Spring Training, and I'll take it the same way."
Toys in the attic: The Metrodome does not have a press conference room anywhere near the visiting clubhouse. So, Francona did his pregame media session in the University of Minnesota football locker room, which the Twins use as a nursery and family room.
Francona got a kick out of the scene, which included Dora the Explorer and Spiderman toys, beanbag chairs and protective rails for toddlers. Francona sat at a row of lockers usually reserved for the children of Twins' players, in front of the one belonging to Johan Santana's two little girls, Jasmily and Jasmine.
When Francona spied a pair of dumbbells from nearby the weight room, he cracked, "Which of the kids is lifting the 15s?"
Lester coming: The Red Sox will fly Jon Lester (left forearm cramp) here Saturday while they decide what to do with him. Francona said Lester will not throw this weekend, but he will be reevaluated every day by the club's coaches and the medical staff.
Lester's 30-day rehabilitation assignment ends on Saturday. He will likely be optioned to Pawtucket when he is ready to pitch.
"It's not like we've changed our minds and something's wrong," Francona said. "Bringing him here makes sense."
Fast riser: Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, whose .452 average leads all Minor Leaguers, was promoted from Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket late Thursday night. Ellsbury tops the Eastern League with 33 hits, 10 doubles and a .518 on-base percentage. He departs the Sea Dogs on a 15-game hitting streak, the longest for that franchise since Brett Roneberg hit in 18 straight in 2004.
This, Francona said, is precisely how the Sox organization hoped Ellsbury would progress.
"I remember sitting in on the meetings," Francona said. "They wanted him to get off to a good start in Double-A and move up, and that's exactly what happened. ... They were trying to get him on a good note, and that would be any day of the last 30 days."
Help for Papelbon: Former Twin J.C. Romero's save Thursday night, with Jonathan Papelbon unavailable, made him the third Red Sox pitcher besides Papelbon to save a game already.
The Sox are trying to be especially careful not to burn out Papelbon, who threw 35 pitches in his blown save on Wednesday against Oakland. But just because the Sox appear to have other options does not mean Francona likes going to someone else.
"It's not easier to go away from him, because he's so good," Francona said of Papelbon. "It's a prudent thing to do. You don't like to lose a game in the meantime, but if it's the right thing to do, it's the right thing to do."
Drew's back: J.D. Drew returned to the lineup on Friday after missing two of the last three games with a viral infection.
Up next: Julian Tavarez (1-2, 7.58 ERA) opposes two-time Cy Young Award winner Santana (3-2, 3.60 ERA) in a 7:10 p.m. ET start on Saturday at the Metrodome.