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Francona fined for ejection

He’s ‘a little bit’ lighter in wallet

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / May 12, 2011

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TORONTO — Red Sox manager Terry Francona confirmed yesterday that he was fined by Major League Baseball for his ejection from last Friday night’s 9-2 loss to the Twins at Fenway Park.

Francona declined to reveal the amount of the fine, but during his weekly appearance on WEEI, he said it was “a little bit.’’

In his news conference before last night’s game, he said, “It was handled and we move on.’’

Francona expects to pay the fine when the Sox arrive in New York today for a three-game series against the Yankees that begins tomorrow night.

“They actually had a pretty good sense of humor about it,’’ Francona said. “I was giving Matt McKendry [with MLB’s on-field operations] some [grief] about it. I said, ‘I’ll pay you when I get to New York,’ and he said he didn’t want any Canadian money, even though I think it’s worth more than [US] dollars now.’’

Francona was tossed by plate umpire Angel Hernandez in the second inning of Friday’s game. The manager came out to seek an explanation from Hernandez for his balk call against Tim Wakefield, which is an automatic ejection. Crew chief Joe West attempted to intercede, and he and Francona made contact several times.

Francona said he didn’t have any concerns about a possible suspension.

“No, I didn’t think so, because the way things go, you hear pretty quick,’’ he said. “If anything, I thought Joe should’ve fouled out after I took the charge.’’

There was no indication whether any disciplinary action had been taken against West, who is president of the World Umpires Association.

Asked if this was the right way to handle things, Francona said, “I don’t know. I think some of our rules are antiquated. Like I know, for the longest time, they didn’t put highlights or replays on the [video] board and I know, for the longest time, it was for the umpires’ safety.

“We’ve got 50,000 security people there, and if I paid $300 for a ticket, I’d want to see a replay. You go to an NBA game, you go to an NFL game, [there are replays], so I don’t know if I agree with that, but that’s not my area, it’s not my jurisdiction.’’

Asked if public disclosure of fines or other sanctions against umpires would make them more accountable, Francona said, “I’m sure there’s arguments for both [ways], but I don’t know.

“I think sometimes the perception is maybe they’re not [accountable], and I don’t think that’s the way it really is.’’

In the finale of the four-game series vs. the Twins Monday night, Hernandez called a balk on Alfredo Aceves from first base. It was the second time in as many outings Aceves had been called for a balk. This time, to Francona’s astonishment, Hernandez signaled for him to come out so he could explain the call.

“He invited me,’’ Francona said. “I was on the top step thinking, ‘He’s reeling me in; he’s going to throw me out as soon as I leave the top step.’

“I waited a minute, thinking, ‘Are you kidding me?’ But I appreciated it, because he actually gave me a really good explanation and he said he explained it to Aceves, too, which is the way I think it should be.’’

Lowrie sick Saying Jed Lowrie showed up looking “like a wet wash cloth,’’ Francona gave Lowrie the night off and gave Jose Iglesias his first big league start at shortstop. “Jed’s sick,’’ Francona said. “He’s been fighting it, and it had not really subsided today. Told him to take it easy a little bit and see if he improves. But he just looked terrible.’’

Francona said Lowrie had been battling a high fever. After the game, Lowrie reported he was feeling better.

Streak snapped Jacoby Ellsbury’s hitting streak was snapped at 19 games when he went 0 for 4. Ellsbury grounded to first in the first inning, followed by ground outs to short in the third and fifth, and a ground out to the mound in the eighth. “It was a good run,’’ Ellsbury said. “We just have to go out there and do it again.’’ . . . Adrian Gonzalez, who went 2 for 4 with a double and a solo homer in the sixth (his seventh of the year), improved his average to .329. David Ortiz homered for the second time in as many games (giving him six on the season), connecting in the two-run outburst in the sixth that pulled the Sox within 4-3 . . . Rajai Davis helped manufacture the Jays’ fourth run in much the same manner he had the winning run in the 10th inning Tuesday night, singling, stealing second and third, then scoring on a sac fly . . . When Tim Wakefield relieved John Lackey, it made him the oldest person to play in a game for the Red Sox at 44 years 282 days, surpassing Deacon McGuire, who last played for the Sox in 1908 at 44 years 280 days. Francona’s intent was to avoid using Matt Albers, Daniel Bard, and Aceves so he’d have them for the series in New York. “The score wasn’t what we wanted it to be, but we needed to stay away from those guys if possible,’’ Francona said.

Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

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