With the Red Sox in town, the subject of Francona’s former managerial tenure (2004-11) always comes up.
“You spend eight years in a place you’re going to get close to a lot of people,” Francona said. “But because I’m so comfortable (in Cleveland), it doesn’t make it hard.”
Francona guided the Red Sox to two World Series titles, but it wasn’t all good times. He was unceremoniously fired after Boston collapsed at the end of the 2011 season, and he had issues with players, including former Indian Manny Ramirez, a player/manager with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate, who played in Boston from 2001-08.
“Manny, for the most part, is a really lovable guy,” Francona said. “When you’re in charge of a team and along with that comes discipline and everybody doing things one way, you can be kind of in a precarious spot sometimes with Manny. That’s just kind of stating the truth. So, sometimes we bumped heads.”
Deposed closer John Axford (1-3, 3.74 ERA, nine saves) had not appeared in Cleveland’s last five games through Sunday. The right-hander hasn’t allowed a run over his last three outings (3.1 innings), striking out five and walking none.