Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, in an appearance on WBZ-TV's Sports Final on Sunday night, said that he suspects some of his former players will approach the coming baseball season with a chip on their collective shoulder. That, he suggested, could lead to strong seasons ahead.
"They’re always going to have a chance. They’re the Red Sox," said Francona. "You have some talented players. Some were injured. Some were probably embarrassed and feel like they have a lot to prove, they maybe feel like they have a chip on their shoulder. Whatever the reason, you’re going to see some guys coming back and probably have pretty good years."
Asked how he might address the disclosures of a disintegrating clubhouse that was symbolized by the in-game consumption of beer and fried chicken, Francona suggested that he had given the matter little thought and so he was unprepared to answer the question.
"It’s not my situation to deal with," Francona said. "I do know the better they deal with it, the quicker it will go away."
Francona also touched on several other topics. Among them:
On how he is approaching the start of a season in which he will not be in uniform: "Spring training signifies a new year, a new beginning. This will be the first time in 32 years for me that I haven’t gone to spring training in a uniform. That’s going to be hard. I knew it would be. In a sense, I’m glad it is hard, because it means I care about the game a lot."
On his expectations for the 2012 team: "There are some things, I think, that have gone under the radar. Guys like Clay Buchholz, if he comes back and he’s Clay Buchholz, that changes the dynamic of the whole pitching staff."
On how the Red Sox will replace Jonathan Papelbon: "If Andrew Bailey is healthy, they’re getting a good one. ... If he’s healthy, that’s a good guy to have at the end."
On the advice he would offer to new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine: "He doesn’t need my advice. I wouldn’t want to give it to him. That’s why you get new people. Sometimes you need a new voice. He’ll do what he wants to do. That’s my advice to anybody: Stay true to yourself. That’s what I did. It worked sometimes. At the end, it didn’t. But I feel OK about myself because I stayed true to myself."
On whether he wants to manage again: " I think so. ... It just has to be the right time and the right fit.
"I don’t want to be in the front office. I want to stay in baseball, for sure," he added. "To get back in uniform, first of all, someone has to want you back in uniform. We’ll see."
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