Francona's four candidates for manager

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Francona's four candidates for manager

Terry Francona's not on the search committee for the new Red Sox manager. But if he were . . .

"I'll give you four names," the former Red Sox manager and current ESPN analyst said on 'SportsCenter' Thursday afternoon. "And if this was my decision, this would be the direction I would want to go:

"Former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell has to be a name and it's already being thrown around. Now he's the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, so there's some issues there.

"Former Sox coach and current Orioles third-base coach DeMarlo Hale. Well-respected.

"Former Sox coach and ex-Astros manager Brad Mills. Well-respected again.

"Current Sox bench coach Tim Bogar.

"All guys that have worked there in the past through the good times. They would immediately have the players' respect; I'm talking about Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester. Will Middlebrooks . . . "

Francona also dismissed the notion that those candidates would bring back the culture that led to the collapse in September 2011.

"We talked about . . . the change of culture in the clubhouse . . . There were some mistakes made last September, and that was under my charge. But that doesn't mean that everything's wrong."

McAdam: Ridiculous to think Bradley's streak ended because he hit leadoff

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McAdam: Ridiculous to think Bradley's streak ended because he hit leadoff

BOSTON -- If you think John Farrell's decision to hit Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff for one night is the reason Bradley's 29-game hit streak came to an end, I've got some swamp land you might be interested in buying.

Such silly talk first surfaced mid-afternoon when the lineup was announced. With Mookie Betts getting his first day off this season, somebody had to hit leadoff. Farrell went with the guy who was leading the league in hitting.

That sounds reasonable. But not to some, who cried that putting Bradley at the top was (take your pick) disrupting Bradley's routine, putting him in a place with which he wasn't familiar, or asking him to change his approach.

Of course, none of those made much sense.

First of all, Thursday night marked the sixth (SIXTH!) different spot that Bradley has hit during the hitting streak. He had hit second, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth. So the notion that any change was disruptive was absurd.

As for the notion that Bradley would treat his at-bats differently because he was leading off? Also wrong. Bradley's major adjustment since spring training has been being aggressive early in the count. So, do you know how many pitches Bradley saw in four at-bats as the leadoff hitter? Eight.

Does that sound like someone who was being forced to be more patient for the night, or someone changing their approach by working the count more?

Finally, Bradley hit two balls on the screws -- one to the warning track in right, just in front of the bullpen in his first at-bat and another in front of the center field door, some 400 or so feet away, in his third.

Streaks come to an end, even when hitters belt the ball hard. Twice.