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October 8, 2016

Terry Francona

Boston, Massachusetts - Workout day

THE MODERATOR: All right. Let's get started.

Q. Josh is sitting right here, but what did you think of the last month that he had kind of overcoming August, getting that mental break?
TERRY FRANCONA: The idea was to kind of give him maybe a little bit of a break. I don't think that's doing justice though when you say like a mental break, I think what he actually did was he dug in and tried to figure out, okay, what makes me a good pitcher and why. And I think he probably got to it quicker than the rest of us and then he and Mickey kind of put their heads together and did some bullpen sessions. But it just, for some reason, and it happens, his fastball cutter usage had kind of flip flopped. And I think it happens when maybe you're starting to miss your spots or you get hit a little bit and you're trying to get through an inning and it had gotten a little bit reversed. This gave him a chance to recognize that and since he's come back, he's been the guy that we have seen, since he was in the rotation last year, one of the better pitchers in the American League.

Q. You managed Buchholz in 2010 probably his best year as a pitcher in the American leagues. What made him so good that year and do you see him as being a different pitcher now than he was in any way?
TERRY FRANCONA: I do think he's a little bit. I think and he's been through a lot physically. He's gone to the bullpen, he's met some challenges this year, I'm sure he's pretty proud of them. And if I wasn't in a different uniform I would say even more, because our responsibility, our challenge is to beat him tomorrow, but it doesn't take away from the fondness. I saw this kid come up from Double A and make his first major league start. I saw Lindsay in the hallway yesterday, I've known him since he's a pup and he's one of my favorite guys. So, again that doesn't mean we're not going to try to beat his brains out, but it also doesn't take away from how much you think of somebody.

Q. Josh touched on it a little bit. What is it about this ballpark where managers never feel that any lead is safe?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think managers in general feel that all the time anyway. Just because you're probably built to worry. But it's a pretty special place. If you like baseball, this is kind of like a cathedral. I mean, it's the way baseball, I think, a lot of people think it's supposed to be. It's older, but it's beautiful. There's so much history. And because of the fan base, the way they're so enthusiastic and rabid that when they start to get something going late, this place starts shaking and you can feel it. So it's part of the game. And you need to be prepared for it because it's you know it's going to get crazy.

Q. You touched on it there a little bit and you've been here before, obviously, as Indians manager, but what is it like and what does it say about baseball that with your attachment to a different team and you can really knock out the Red Sox. What does that say about the game and how it kind of comes around at times?
TERRY FRANCONA: I'm not quite sure what part you're getting at. I don't think we have time to make things personal. And I also believe strongly that the players on both sides, Red Sox and Indians, they worked too hard and they have accomplished so much so far and they're trying to do more, that it needs to be all about the players, always and regardless what have my feelings may or may not be, that's, it's just not appropriate.

Q. (No microphone.)
TERRY FRANCONA: I think that's the best way I know how to do it is because you're going to get asked questions. If you're up two, you're going to get asked a certain amount of questions. If you're down two, you're going to get asked different questions. And the way to get around that, or not get around it, but is, we try to attack every day the same. We try to win that game and play the best we can and if we don't win, we try to learn from our mistakes and move on. And that's really the only way I know to do it. And then you don't have to concern yourself with outside influences or outside noise. The expectations we place on ourself are what matters. And that is to go out and play a really good game tomorrow and see if we can win. And we're playing a really good team. We might not win. If we don't, we'll try to win the next day. That's what we always do.

Q. You mentioned your fondness for Clay, I wanted to know about as you've been watching David on his way out this season, kind of what it's been like for you to watch that from afar and your relationship with him.
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I admit I like it better when he makes outs. I mean that's -- I mean he's, obviously, a very special person in my life. I mean, you can't spend eight years with somebody and go through so much and not -- he's going to have a special place for a lot of people -- but I understand the talk about sendoff and things like that. Right now, believe me when I tell you what I care about is getting him out, because he's so dangerous in the batters box and they have done such a good job of getting people in front of him and behind him that it makes you think a little bit. Part of this is a big reason for their success.

Q. From the outside looking in people might see Miller in the 5th or see Santana leading off and see these as unconventional things you've done. How do you go about striking that balance from taking information from the front office analytics and also using your own instincts too?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think that, I feel like I owe it to the team and to the organization not to guess. I think that means that you have to know your own players extremely well. And then you take the information that you think is pertinent and again, knowing that you're always relying on people, your people, and your players, and you got to know them really well. But I just don't feel like it's fair to throw something against the wall and hope it sticks. Things don't always work, but I feel like if I'm prepared, I can relax and enjoy the game. Once I get my stuff done during the day then I feel like I can mess around or beat him in cribbage or whatever and I can relax. Because the game is, I'm ready. I just am able to relax.

Q. You were just talking about taking every day individually. In a back against the wall situation, in your experience, is there a temptation as a manager to do it differently, to try to change something to get guys going?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think that trying to block out the noise can be a challenge. Because you're probably getting it from a lot of different ways. I mean, everybody's different. That's part of the beauty of our game. Every -- you have the right to do things how you think is right. Everybody feels differently. That's part of what's good about the game. This is just, I've always felt this way, and I don't have to say it, force myself to say it, because it's how I feel. And I think it just makes sense. But these guys hear me say it a lot, common sense isn't easy to have in the 6th or 7th inning, it's really hard. Because you got emotions going, and that's why you try to talk through things before the game, so that you don't make decisions based out of emotion.

Q. Were you joking about beating Josh in cribbage?
TERRY FRANCONA: No, I was serious about that. (Laughter.)

Q. Earlier this year when you did have to make the tough decision to move him from the rotation, even on that day you guys still played -- you spoke on this before -- but what do you think that kind of showed about the relationship that you built within the clubhouse?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think that that was, that's a, what's the word, microcosm or analogy? Put the right word in for me, but you know what I mean. You can't always tell players stuff they want to hear. But that in no way took away our respect for JT, we were just trying to help. And we talked through it for awhile and we talked again and then an hour later, after he threw his bullpen, he came in like he always does. You work hard to build relationships where you can tell players sometimes things they may not want to hear. It doesn't mean you dislike them, it doesn't mean you don't respect them. In his case -- he's sitting here and I'm going to say it anyway -- I mean, he may not have 15 years in the league, but he's one of the best teammates I've ever seen since I've been in baseball. And with guys like that, they deserve that respect and he'll always have that.

Q. Managers always having that worry mindset. Now that you've seen this team the Red Sox firsthand fight back from a 2-0 3-0 deficit, does that make you worry a little bit more, knowing what they're capable of?
TERRY FRANCONA: No, not more. And I don't mean to mean it like I'm taking it lightly, I just, that's why I said what I said before, we just need to try to go win tomorrow. If you start worrying about Tuesday, we're going to miss tomorrow. We just play tomorrow. And then hopefully we play a really good game and win. If we don't, we'll go on to the next day. I just think you start getting too far ahead of yourself and it can look a little daunting sometimes. We don't need to do that we just need to try to win tomorrow. That will be hard enough.

Q. In general for managers, is it realistic to think that someone in your chair can kick start a team? Is it kind of like a football setting where you could actually rally your troops, so to speak, in a meeting or is it not work like that in base balling?
TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think so much in baseball. I think more because like in football you play every Sunday. I get it. I get that a lot. Even in basketball it's every two or three nights. I think in our sport -- and everybody has their own way, which is really cool -- but I think what we try to strive for is -- and we work hard at it -- is trying to have an atmosphere from day one in spring training and even before that where the players want to do the right thing. Because if they do, you're going to be in pretty good shape. And you try to have that atmosphere to where guys care about being on time, they care about respecting the game, and then if you have the talent you think you do, you'll be okay. I don't think you can push a button and come October 2nd and guys are all of a sudden are going to start doing stuff different. It's an accumulation of the whole year.

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