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Francona's pregame interview

Francona's pregame interview

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Could you just go over your lineup? Is Dustin okay, again, today?

TERRY FRANCONA: Same lineup, and Dustin is fine. He came out and hit yesterday. I think we're all a little bit relieved at the lack of soreness.

I don't think there would have been any surprise if he showed up yesterday and was very sore. And he's really not. He swung the bat. Swung it aggressively, look the ground balls, and I don't think it's anything that gets in the way of him playing the game.

From afar, looking at the way you ran your lineup roster at the end of the season, sat Okajima down for a while, gave your players rest. Did that turn out to be a smart strategy? The Angels are so decimated by injuries I don't think they could do anything different. But looks like you set up everybody for October 1st?

TERRY FRANCONA: I agree with part of what you're saying, part I'm not sure. We didn't really give guys rest. We rested injured guys. There's a little bit of difference. We were trying to battle to win and we were really nicked up. So we tried to do what we thought was right, which wasn't easy to do, but we knew we had to do it.

Okajima was getting to a point where we could keep running him out there, but when the playoffs started, are we going to have the guy we need, probably not. Youkilis got drilled in the wrist. He was hurting. We probably could have run him out there a day or two earlier but that didn't make any sense. We were trying to get Manny back to where he could be a force.

We were just trying to make good decisions and they're not always easy to make but we did want to try to run our team out there now. Hopefully we'll be awarded for that.

Could you talk about the matchup today, Schilling and Weaver?

TERRY FRANCONA: Probably more comfortable talking about our guy. In years past, I think with 12 days off, I think there would be some uneasiness or some anxiety. I don't think Schilling feels that anymore. He's been looking forward to this day for a while now. I think he's prepared very well. We certainly don't try to look past games, but we try to situate this where our team would be best off for a longer run if we're fortunate enough to do that.

It will be fun to go out and watch and see how Schilling reacts today. I'm sure they're excited about Weaver too. They should be. This is playoff baseball. You're going to be facing good players and good pitchers.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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