Terry Francona is out as Red Sox manager
Terry Francona, the manager who led the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series championship in 86 years, is out after one of the worst months in club history.
In a joint statement released Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract for a ninth year in the wake of the team’s September collapse in which it blew a nine-game lead in the AL wild-card race.
Owners John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino acknowledged a change was needed and thanked Francona, who led the franchise to World Series victories in 2004 and 2007. But the statement also mentioned that Francona was ready to head in a different direction.
“Tito [Francona] said that after eight years here he was frustrated by his difficulty making an impact with the players, that a different voice was needed, and that it was time for him to move on,” the statement said. “After taking time to reflect on Tito’s sentiments, we agreed that it was best for the Red Sox not to exercise the option years on his contract.”
The release highlighted a whirlwind day at Fenway Park that saw all of the principal parties shuttle in and out of the facility. Francona was in the building three different times.
Later, Henry was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital to be examined after a minor incident on his yacht, the Red Sox said. WBZ radio reported that he walked off his boat wearing a neck brace.
Boston missed the playoffs despite its nine-game lead with 24 to play on Sept. 4. It went 6-18 after that, ending with a 4-3 loss Wednesday night in Baltimore amid reports of conditioning and clubhouse problems. The Red Sox did not win consecutive games all month.
“I didn’t feel like the players need to go to dinner together, but they need to be fiercely loyal on the field,” Francona, who rarely criticized players publicly, said at a news conference after the announcement. “I didn’t always get that feeling and it bothered me.”
He also said it was his decision to leave, although the owners seemed to want to make a change.
Mattingly’s Dodgers staff to return
The Dodgers announced that Manager Don Mattingly’s entire coaching staff would return next season, as they signed hitting coach Dave Hansen and bullpen coach Ken Howell to new contracts.
Bench coach Trey Hillman, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, first base coach Davey Lopes and third base coach Tim Wallach were already under contract for next year. Manny Mota, who assists with hitting, will also be back.
Arizona batting coach Don Baylor was taken to a hospital after fainting at Miller Park in Milwaukee, where the Diamondbacks open their NL division series against the Brewers on Saturday.
Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers said Baylor had a “fainting episode” after eating breakfast in the clubhouse, and one of the team’s trainers caught him as he fell. Towers said Baylor, 62, was taken by ambulance to a hospital, accompanied by members of the team’s medical staff, and was undergoing tests, initial results of which were encouraging.
The Atlanta Braves fired hitting coach Larry Parrish after one season, one day after Manager Fredi Gonzalez had said his entire staff would return in 2012. The Braves were 10th in the National League in runs and their .243 batting average ranked 13th. . . . The Oakland Athletics said they aren’t renewing the contracts of bench coach Joel Skinner, pitching coach Ron Romanick and hitting coach Gerald Perry.