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Francona says he meant no harm

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  February 28, 2012 10:38 AM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, speaking by phone from Detroit Tigers camp in Lakeland, where he was doing interviews for ESPN's Baseball Tonight, said he did not mean anything derogatory by his comments yesterday that the Red Sox' ban on alcohol in the clubhouse "was a PR move."

"I need to be more careful when speaking about the Red Sox," Francona said. "I didn't mean anything derogatory about the team or Bobby (Valentine) when I said that. It was just an issue that's been played out so publicly. I thought I was consistent in what I said all day yesterday, but I need to be more careful."

Francona's comments started a back-and-forth yesterday with Sox manager Bobby Valentine.

"I don't think it's a surprise that they put this in effect, or the fact they announced it," Francona said yesterday on the Mike and Mike Show "It's probably more of a PR move just because, you know, the Red Sox [took] such a beating at the end of the year."

Valentine responded later Monday "Remember, you're getting paid over there [at ESPN] for saying stuff. You're getting paid over here for doing stuff.''

Valentine acknowledged that, "I think they probably asked [Francona] a question, that's what he said. If they had asked him longer, he probably would have said it was the right thing to do, too, but they probably dropped it at PR move, I would think. Either that, or those other 18 teams are getting it wrong, too. I don't think they did it just for PR.''

On a different topic, Francona, who managed Jason Varitek for eight years said, "I hope his decision to retire is something he really wants to do because he deserves to go out the way he wants to go out. He's earned that. I know what he meant to our team. He's one of the best players to ever put on a Red Sox uniform and I wish him the best in what ever he decided to do with the rest of his life."

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