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Francona's medication brought up in interview

By Matt Pepin and Michael Vega
Globe Staff / December 2, 2011
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Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona said his use of pain medication, which was revealed in a Globe story detailing the team’s September collapse, came up when he interviewed for the Cardinals managerial position.

“That probably aggravated me - not from St. Louis, I don’t blame them, I’d have asked it, too - but the fact that I had to defend myself . . . really hurt me,’’ he said yesterday on WEEI.

Francona also claimed there was a “miscommunication’’ with the Globe’s Bob Hohler about using the information in the story.

“I actually talked to Bob, I think it was the night before,’’ Francona said. “There’s a little bit of miscommunication to this day. When I hung up with Bob, I was under the impression that he understood, you know, I could have got him to talk to Dr. [Larry] Ronan [the Red Sox internist]. I was under the impression that wasn’t part of the story.’’

Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan said, “I don’t know what the miscommunication could have been.’’

Francona also explained why he didn’t respond when details of the team’s demise were revealed.

“I wasn’t the perfect manager, but I did things my way, and for seven years and five months it worked,’’ he said. “The last month, everything kind of collapsed. But coming out and slinging arrows isn’t how I think is appropriate.’’

Right men for job

Although the Red Sox’ managerial search may have been complicated by competition from the Cubs, Sox general manager Ben Cherington said each team wound up with its man.

“I don’t think it was complicated,’’ Cherington said. “Theo [Epstein] and I talked about candidates before he left. But as I said, the right person for the Cubs may have not been the right person for the Red Sox, or vice versa.

“And that’s exactly how it played out. I think Bobby Valentine was the right person for us and Dale Sveum was the right person for the Cubs. Happy for both guys, but I’m happy that we got the right guy, I think.’’

Cherington said he and Epstein had not yet reached any agreement on compensation for Epstein’s departure, but are expected to meet at the Winter Meetings in Dallas.

Valentine said he hoped to learn more about his new team through statistical analysis and videotape study. It helps Cherington to have a manager in place to give voice to some of the personnel decisions that are likely to be made in Dallas.

“At this point, I feel like the biggest job that we have to do is really internally,’’ Cherington said. “Hiring a manager is certainly a huge part of that. There are other parts of the operation that we’re going to be restructuring.

“We’re going to make player moves. We’ve got a lot of good players and we made some big moves last season.’’

Little to say

David Ortiz reserved judgment when asked what effect Valentine would have on the team.

“I don’t know,’’ the free agent designated hitter said from the Dominican Republic. “We’ll see . . . Hopefully, I’ll get to find out.’’

Ortiz said he does not know Valentine well, other than occasional conversations at All-Star Games.

“I’ve talked to Bobby before, asked him some questions,’’ Ortiz said. “That’s about it.’’

So, does Ortiz expect to be playing for Valentine next season? “No comment,’’ he said with a laugh.

Critical eye

During his days as an ESPN analyst, Valentine was critical of some Red Sox players, namely Josh Beckett for taking too long between pitches, and Carl Crawford for his unorthodox batting stance. Valentine was asked if it would make for an awkward situation. “Part of that job as an analyst is to be critical,’’ Valentine said. “I believe if some people heard what I had to say and took exception to that, I get that. I’m looking forward to the time when it’s not a conversation that they’re going to hear from me making a comment on television, our conversation is going to be one-on-one. I’m looking forward to talking to the players, being with the players, and communicating what I think should be done or could be done.’’ . . . Valentine becomes the sixth Sox manager to be a New England native. Valentine, however, grew up along a Yankee-Red Sox fault line in Stamford, Conn., where his father was a diehard Yankee fan and his favorite uncle, John, a diehard Sox fan. “My only major league game I got to go to as a kid was a Sox-Yankees doubleheader [at Yankee Stadium],’’ Valentine recalled. “I got to sit between my father and my uncle. It was an amazing experience.’’ . . . Asked about how he planned to handle Beckett, who had been at the epicenter of the pitching meltdown in September, Valentine said, “The most unfair thing you can do is treat people who are different the same way. So I think he will be treated differently.’’

Peter Abraham of the Globe staff contributed to this report from the Dominican Republic.

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