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Lucchino puzzled by Francona comment

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  September 30, 2011 08:48 PM

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Tom Werner, Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino (from left) spoke about Terry Francona's departure at a press conference at Fenway Park

Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino said tonight he was not sure what former manager Terry Francona was referring to when he said in his farewell press conference he wasn't sure how much support he had from team ownership.

"I was actually puzzled by that comment," Lucchino said at a press conference held following one by Francona at Fenway Park tonight. "We have done nothing differently this year than we have done in previous years, and I think it's a question you probably have to ask him. I thought he did an exceptional job in conveying the strength of his feelings and his frustrations and his fatigue with the situation here in Boston."

Team chairman Tom Werner said ownership wanted to take more time before concluding the matter of Francona's status. Ownership and Francona met at Fenway Park this morning.

"We tried to slow the train down a bit, and just asked Terry to think about it over the weekend, but as he said in his press conference, I think he made up his mind and so that's how this was resolved," Werner said.

General manager Theo Epstein spoke about what needed to be done to change the clubhouse culture that had led to frustration for Francona.

"We talked about the need for a little bit of an improvement in the clubhouse culture, a little bit more leadership, a little bit more engagement. Holding the organization and the players to higher standards in some areas. I asked Tito separately, and in the group we did as well, whether he could be that guy, whether he could take a couple weeks off, go think about the things that didn't go right this year and what we weren't able to get out of this team and to look himself in the mirror. As I talked about yesterday, it wasn't my best year, it wasn't his best year, as an organization it wasn't our best year, look at ourselves in the mirror and think if there's things he could do differently and if he could come back next spring training with a new voice and provide some of the leadership that's needed to improve the culture in our clubhouse and to meet those high standards that we have.

"He thought about it, and he said that he thought it was time to move on. He thought it was best for a new voice."

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