FRANCONA FRANKLY

     Terry Francona is poised to potentiallly win his third World Series title with Boston.  He has been effusive in his praise for Theo Epstein and the front office, after their Winter shopping spree.  Newcomers like Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford join a veteran nucleus, not only of players, but coaches, as well.  Former PawSox skipper Ron Johnson missed a large portion of 2010, tending to his daughter Bridget, who was severely injured, when the horse she was riding, was struck by a car.  The horse was killed and Bridget lost her left leg, at the knee.  Ron Johnson remained by his daughters’ side until she was discharged from the Vanderbilt University Childrens’ Hospital.  Johnson has returned to Fort Myers and is ready to get back to work.  Francona, for one, thinks it’s a great thing.  “It’ll be nice for him.  He’s been away so long, dealing with so many important things.  I really think it will be great for him to be back, surrounded by so many people that care for him so muc.h.  If he needs to go home from time to time, he knows he can.  We certainly want to be supportive, but we’re happy to have him back.”

     Missing from City of Palms Park this spring are John Farrell and Torey Lovullo.  Farrell has taken over as the manager of the Blue Jays and hired the ex-PawSox manager to be his first base coach.  Francona goes way back with both men and will msis them.  “The thing is, sometimes when you have good people, you are going to lose them.  We hired Torey here and we were excited.  John went to Toronto and he wanted good people with him.  You can’t blame him for that.  The happiness outweighs the sense of loss when something like that happens.”

     After weighing in on the two former Pawtucket managers, Tito spoke about the new skipper, Arnie Beyeler.  “I’m thrilled for him.  He’s been around a long time and he’s put his time in.  It’s a good opportunity and I’m excited to work with him.”  Having been around for many years, I’ve seen first hand just how closely Francona works with the PawSox manager, whomever it may be.  “We work very closely with the Triple A manager.  It’s the next step.”  When it was pointed out that Beyeler seemed to be a different type of guy than RJ or Torey, Francona quickly quipped- “No one is like RJ”.  He then went into detail- “Everybodys’ personality is different.  They can’t change that, nor do we want them to.  Arnie is a hard worker.  When you are in the lower minor leagues, everything is pretty strict.  the game plan, the kids and what you are doing with them, he has stuck to that.  Now that you’re getting up in the minors, things don’t necessarily get more relaxed, but styled more to each player.  You’ll see Arnie change and adapt with that when he has older players.” 

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