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

Red Sox trade Shaw, prospects for reliever Thornburg

Red Sox trade Shaw, prospects for reliever Thornburg

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Red Sox got the bullpen help they were seeking Tuesday, but it came at a steep price.
     
The Sox obtained righthanded reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers, but it cost them infielder Travis Shaw, highly regarded shortstop prospect Mauricio Dubon and pitching prospect Josh Pennington, according to an industry source.

In Thornburg, 28, the Red Sox get a hard-throwing reliever whom they control for the next three seasons. He became the Brewers' closer after the trade deadline last year and recorded 13 saves while posting a 2.15 ERA and avergaing 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
    
He will serve as the Red Sox' primary set-up option to get to closer Craig Kimbrel.
     
One potential issue for Thornburg is that he's dealt with some elbow issues in the recent past. As recently as 2014, it was thought that he might require Tommy John surgery, but he instead underwent PRP (platelt rich plasma) treatment and has remained healthy.

Given that the last set-up reliever obtained by Dombrowski, Carson Smith, underwent Tommy John surgery last season, Thornburg's injury history raises a caution flag.

In dealing Shaw, the Red Sox are now expecting Pablo Sandoval to be their primary third baseman -- at least in the near term.

Sandoval missed all but a few games in 2016 with a shoulder injury and his conditioning has been an issue since signing with the Red Sox two years ago.

The Red Sox have Brock Holt to help out at third in 2017, with both Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers waiting in the wings.

Dubon is the second top prospect to be dealt by Dombrowski in the last 13 months. He included Javier Guerra in a package with three other prospects to obtain Kimbrel in November of 2015.

Dubon posted a .912 OPS in half a season at Portland last year and recently played in the Arizona Fall League. He has limited power, but strong athleticism and makes good contact.

Pennington is 20, a hard-throwing (94-98 mph) righthander who could profile either as a late-inning weapon or a starter. He's years away from the big leagues and has already undergone Tommy John surgery.

The Boston Herald was the first to report that the teams had made a trade. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was the first to report the details.

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.