Francona will not manage in 2012


Francona will not manage in 2012

MILWAUKEE -- Although his name continues to be linked to the still-vacant managerial opening with the Chicago Cubs, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona has come to a realization.

"I'm not going to try to manage next year,'' said Francona by phone Wednesday, "for my benefit.''

Francona parted with the Red Sox two days after the season ended following a disastrous month of September which saw the team go 7-20 and blow a 9 12 game wild card lead on the final night of the year. Worse, the collapse was followed by a slew of stories detailing player behavior in the Boston clubhouse.

Francona interviewed for the St. Louis Cardinals' job last week, but the Cardinals hired former catcher Mike Matheny, who has no previous managerial experience, last week for the position.

"When I interviewed in St. Louis, I was genuinely excited about it,'' said Francona. "St. Louis was such an exciting opportunity. But we were all beaten up at the end of the year, and after (interviewing) I took a step back and began to look at things realistically.''

Theo Epstein's presence in Chicago as president of baseball operations has stirred recurring speculation that Epstein and Francona would re-unite. The two have kept up an
open dialogue, but Francona isn't a candidate for the Cubs' opening.

"I've talked to Theo numerous times,'' said Francona. "We both know each other well enough where we can can be honest with each other. I don't think it's the right opportunity.

"I need to take a step back and re-energize. That's probably in my best interest right now. In fairness to myself, it's the best thing to do.''

The 2012 season will mark the first time since 2001 that Francona hasn't been in uniform since his playing career ended and will be the first time he doesn't draw a paycheck from a team since coming out of college.

"I worked for Cleveland (in an off-field role as scout) in 2001 and it ended up being good for me,'' said Francona. "After a while, your perspective can get blurred. I think maybe this will be valuable (to take some time off).''

Instead, Francona may explore some broadcast opportunities. He's been contacted by representatives from Fox, ESPN and the MLB Network.

"I'm going to explore some things in broadcasting and see where it leads,'' he said. "It may be a way to stay in the game, enjoy it and also be able to step back and look at things.''

Francona filled in for Tim McCarver for the first two games of Fox's ALCS coverage and earned universal praise, prompting the interest from networks.

"That surprised me, because I was terrified,'' he said. "I'm not deluding myself, thinking I'm the next coming of John Madden. But I did enjoy it. We'll see. Baseball's what I know. Maybe there's a place out there that makes sense for me. I'd at least like to look.''

Having been around the game for 30 years, Francona has also heard from lots of friends in the game, with offers to get back into baseball in a non-managerial capacity. For now, however, he'd prefer to take some time off.

It will take a while, he knows, to adjust.

"I'm sure that will be really difficult for me,'' he said. "Not going to spring training will certainly be a huge void, but I guess I'm glad. I want to get myself re-energized and if and when an opportunity arises (to manage again), I'll be ready.''

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. 

Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.

He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.

Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.


Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17. 

With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games. 

The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings. 

The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.