A queasy Francona fights off illness


Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona was stricken with what team officials described as a mild case of food poisoning shortly before Thursday’s opening game of the American League division series with the Angels.

Francona, who had been complaining of digestive issues for much of the day, warned bench coach Brad Mills that he might have to manage the game.

Francona did not come out for the pregame introductions, leaving designated hitter David Ortiz to perform the customary handshake with Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.


However, Francona was in the Boston dugout when the game began and made brief appearances on the field in the fourth and sixth innings to argue calls with first base umpire CB Bucknor and again in the seventh when he came out to replace pitcher Ramon Ramirez.

Asked after the game how he felt, Francona said, “Not very well, thank you for asking. It’s been a tough day.”

Staying the course

Game 2 starter Josh Beckett said he will approach tonight’s game the same way he would have approached it had the Red Sox won Thursday’s playoff opener.

“You need to win every game,” Beckett said. “The first one to 11 is the one who takes home the ultimate prize. Every game means a lot. You’re not trying to give any games away.”

Beckett was bothered by an oblique strain last season and pitched poorly in the division series, giving up four runs in five innings in a game the Angels won in extra innings.

He has battled back spasms through the second half this season, posting a 4.53 ERA since the All-Star break.

However, he said he will be healthy when he takes the mound tonight, which is good news for the Red Sox, who need a win to avoid going home down 0-2 in the best-of-five series.

“There’s no issues physically at all,” said Beckett, who led Boston with 17 regular-season wins.

“Last month it’s been better than it was two months ago so I’m just looking forward to going out there and doing what I’m supposed to do.”

Byrd in, Baldelli out

Uncertain of the status of outfielder Rocco Baldelli, the Red Sox waited until just moments before the 10 a.m. deadline to submit their roster for the series. But the wait didn’t help Baldelli, whose strained left hip has been slow to respond to treatment. His place on the roster was taken by Brian Anderson.

Former Angel Paul Byrd was chosen over Manny Delcarmen for the last spot on the 11-man pitching staff.