Report: Terry Francona is out as Boston Red Sox manager
Terry Francona met with Boston Red Sox management on Friday to discuss his future as manager, but the team said a decision has not been reached.
Despite the statement, Francona told staff members on Thursday that he will not be returning as manager, a club source told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes on Friday.
Several other media outlets reported Friday that Francona would not return for a ninth season. He led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein released a statement Friday afternoon.
"John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, Ben Cherington and I met with Terry Francona this morning at Fenway Park to exchange thoughts and information on the 2011 season and discuss areas for improvement going forward," he said. "We all plan on taking some time to process the thoughts expressed in the meeting. There are no immediate plans for an announcement."
The team has 10 days from the end of the season to decide whether to keep Francona, whose contract has two option years. Boston missed the playoffs despite leading the AL wild-card race by nine games on Sept. 4.
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said Friday he was "fine with Tito," meaning Francona, but he did hint that the clubhouse had issues, something Francona acknowledged on Thursday.
"I worry about playing baseball more than anything else," Ortiz said. "I know we have some players that [the organization thought were] worried about some other [things] and sometimes there were certain things that no one in the clubhouse can control. I was trying and I have no issues. My only problem was when I started being benched [in 2010] and that was my only issue with Tito. Other than that we're cool."
Ortiz wasn't expecting Francona to leave. "I am surprised," he said. "I'm surprised because I'm hearing things right now that I didn't know were going on."
-- Houston Mitchell
Photo: Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona departs Fenway Park on Friday after meeting with Red Sox management. Credit: Steven Senne / Associated Press