Talk therapy: Francona seving as ALCS broadcaster

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Talk therapy: Francona seving as ALCS broadcaster

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Terry Francona had hoped to be at the ALCS as manager of the Red Sox. Instead, he was here Saturday night as a fill-in announcer for FOX, his baseball future uncertain.

"I still catch myself saying 'we,' '' Francona said of the Sox before the start of Game 1 on Saturday. "It's hard to go eight years and stop saying 'we' or 'us' . . . I'm trying to be under the radar a little bit and let it go away.''

Francona said he's not indulged in much analysis of what went wrong in his final season as manager of the Red Sox.

"I think I did that (while it was happening),'' said Francona. "The whole time, I kept thinking 'Okay, we've got to turn this around.' I think what's hard now is you're emotional. Any time you're emotional, it's hard to look at stuff. I think as I get less emotional, I'll have a better perspective. But I'm probably not there yet.''

Francona has been preparing for his work in the broadcast booth, so has not been paying as much attention to the fallout at Fenway or Theo Epstein's future.

"I don't know (what Epstein is going to do),'' he said. "It's none of my business.''

After the Chicago White Sox made the surprise move of hiring Robin Ventura Thursday, there are no current managerial vacancies, meaning Francona might have to take some time off in 2012.

"I just don't know,'' he said. "That's something I'll have to sit down with, take a deep breath and try to make a good decision on. That's not an easy decision to make. I took that year off the field with Cleveland (after being fired by the Philies), which is probably the best thing I ever did.''

Asked if he would be willing to work as a bench coach or work in scouting, Francona said: "I don't know. First of all, you don't know what people want. Sometimes those things kind of arise, where someone calls and says, 'Are you interested in this?' It's still a little early for me.''

In the past, Francona has found it tough to watch post-season games, with the disappointment of being eliminated or failing to reach the playoffs too raw.

But this weekend, he's preoccupied with doing well on TV.

"I'm so nervous with what I'm doing,'' he said, "I just want to get through this. I watched the games the other night and you get mad because you want to be there. I think people can understand this.''

Francona again added that he has no interest in pursuing TV work full-time and that his focus remains on the field.

"I hope I have fun,'' he said. "But I'm more comfortable in uniform . . . I wouldn't have done this without Joe Buck, FOX' lead announcer because I've known him since Triple-A. He says he'll get me through this and I trust him.

"And he says he's got a multiyear deal, so I can't take him down if I stink.''

Victor Martinez, whom the Red Sox allowed to walk last winter, was the Tigers' second-best offensive player during the regular season, hitting .330 with 12 homers and 103 RBI.

Martinez was second on the team to Miguel Cabrera in RBI, batting average, doubles, and OPS.

Of the 145 games, Martinez played, 113 were at DH. He made 26 starts behind the plate and six more at first base.

Martinez had wanted to continue catching, but served almost exclusively as DH for Detroit.

"I really have to give him a lot of credit,'' said Detroit manager Jim Leyland, "because I think a lot of guys at some point have an issue with just DH-ing. And I think that GM Dave Dombrowski and his assistants made it pretty clear that's what he would be doing most of the time. I think he's accepted that and I think he's settled into that role tremendously. So it's not an issue.

"With some guys, well, they say, 'I want to DH . . . I don't mind DHing, but I would rather play a position.' We don't have that problem with Victor. Victor has been a total team guy from Day One. It's really worked out well.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Porcello loses 10th game as Red Sox fall to Twins, 4-1

Porcello loses 10th game as Red Sox fall to Twins, 4-1

BOSTON -- Twins rookie lefty Adalberto Mejia is feeling more comfortable each time he takes the mound.

Mejia pitched 5 2/3 innings in his second straight scoreless start, Max Kepler hit a two-run homer and Minnesota rebounded from two consecutive losses against Boston to beat the Red Sox 4-1 on Wednesday night.

"He did a nice job," Twins manager Paul Molitor said about Mejia. "He had to kind of battle. It's kind of becoming a little bit of his MO to burn through pitches, but similarly to his last start, he kept walking off the field with zeros."

Kepler also had an RBI single, and Miguel Sano added an RBI double to help the Twins improve to 24-11 on the road.

Mejia (3-3) allowed five hits, struck out three and walked one in his 11th career start. On Friday night at Cleveland, he held the Indians to two hits over five innings in a victory.

"I feel calmer every time I'm out there," he said through a translator. "I think that's why I did better."

Brandon Kintzler got the final three outs for his 21st save.

Boston starter Rick Porcello (4-10) gave up four runs on six hits in six innings, striking out six and walking two. It was his 14th straight start going at least six innings, the AL's longest active streak.

"It's not like they're beating the cover off the ball," Porcello said. "It's just a couple things here and there that I've got to clean up. I'm not making excuses for myself. I definitely hold myself accountable for the loss tonight."

Red Sox manager John Farrell was back in the dugout after serving a one-game suspension Tuesday for poking umpire Bill Miller in the chest during an argument Saturday.

The Red Sox stranded 11 baserunners, and at least one in every inning. Farrell thought his team may have been pressing a bit.

"I thought there were times we might have expanded the strike zone a little bit, trying to make something happen," he said.

With Minnesota leading 2-0 in the sixth, Kepler lined his homer off the back of Boston's bullpen.

In the first, the Twins scored a pair of two-out runs when Sano hit his RBI double down the third-base line and scored on Kepler's broken-bat single.

Xander Bogaerts drove in Boston's run with a bases-loaded grounder in the seventh.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: LHP Glen Perkins resumed throwing Tuesday after a setback last week following offseason shoulder surgery. Molitor said the club is still formulating a plan for him. He's been sidelined all season and pitched in just two games last year.

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez missed his third straight game after getting hit by a pitch on the left knee Sunday. "He'll go through a full workday today," Farrell said. "He's feeling improved."

MATCHES OWN RECORD

Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia played his 98th consecutive error-less game, matching the best mark in club history he set for a second baseman from 2009-10.

LOOKS FAMILIAR

This season has started like 2015 for Porcello, the AL's reigning Cy Young Award winner.

Two years ago when he struggled badly, the righty lost nine of his initial 13 decisions and finished 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA.

ROSTER MOVE

Minnesota right-hander Phil Hughes was activated from the 10-day disabled list and LHP Craig Breslow was put on with rib cage soreness.

Hughes had been on the DL since complaining of a "dead feeling" in his pitching shoulder on May 21. He allowed one run in three innings during three rehabilitation appearances in Triple-A.

Molitor plans to use him out of the bullpen.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (4-5, 6.23 ERA) looks to continue his success in Fenway Park in the series finale Thursday. He's allowed only one run over 15 innings in two career starts.

Red Sox: LHP David Price (2-2, 4.76) has won his last five decisions against Minnesota, posting a 1.84 ERA.