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October 19, 2016

Terry Francona

Toronto, Ontario - Pregame 5, Canada

Q. Wondering if you have any kind of update on Trevor, how that's going?
TERRY FRANCONA: What I can give you, let's see, I talked to Dr. Graham this morning about it. And he's coming in today to look at him again. A couple of things, one, to look and see if he's potentially a guy that could pitch out of the bullpen later in this series. I don't know if that's realistic or not. If it's not, then what puts him in the best position to start another game, hopefully there will be one, when, how do you get there. That's the hard part right now is trying to -- obviously he needs to heal. But he can't just not throw.

So he's aware of all those things. We talked about it for a little while and he's coming in today and he'll talk to Trevor and the training staff and they'll continue to put their heads together.

Q. It's up in the air at this point, you'll see what happens?
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, see how it heals. His thought was that like he didn't put anymore stitches in there. He thought it really was healing pretty well, considering all it had been through for the last three or four days. He thought -- with time it's going to continue to get better.

Q. You're a team that wasn't picked to win its division, you weren't picked to win the first round. You probably weren't picked to win this round. Is that something as a manager you can use during the course of a year that's sort of underdog status type of thing or does it just evolve?
TERRY FRANCONA: You know what, I think I always feel like if we can use something to our advantage we certainly do. I think every team does that. I kind of laugh, a lot of times you'll turn on the TV and you'll hear -- usually a football player right after the game, they're all jazzed up, We proved to the whole world.

I guess what I'm saying is if that helps you, good. I think what's important is how we feel in the clubhouse, our expectations of ourself are what matter. That way regardless of what the outside expectations are it doesn't enter into our thinking because what's truly important is how we feel. And then, again, it helps to ward off, whether it's good or bad, what's coming -- the noise or however you say it, from the outside.

Q. There seems to be a feeling among the media and some fans even though they're up 3-1, because of where the pitching sets up, they're not at the advantage, but they have a real good shot at coming back. How do you feel about where you stand right now?
TERRY FRANCONA: I would rather be up 3-1 than down 3-1. I also have a lot of respect for their team. And that's why we don't do anything different. We show up and try to win today's game knowing that that's a big task ahead of us today.

But trying to look ahead to potentially Friday, we don't need to right now. Winning today's game is what's on our plate. And we're going to do the best we can. If we don't, we'll practice tomorrow and then show up on Friday. I just don't think that spending energy thinking about the weekend is going to help.

Q. Have you had a chance to see Ryan Merritt today and what's his demeanor?
TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, I talked to him a little bit.

Q. What's his demeanor seem like?
TERRY FRANCONA: I think justifiably he's a little nervous. I think the nerves will lessen when the game starts, just knowing him the little bit I do and from talking to people that do know him. I think like handling this was a little bit foreign to him. But I do think as he warms up and gets in what he knows he can do, he'll be fine.

He knows he's not alone out there. He's got us in the dugout and hopefully that reassures him a little bit. This start isn't going to define his career. It would sure help us win a game if he pitches well. And I told him that.

I think his biggest goal for today is to be himself and not try to let, whether it's nerves or -- get in the way of who he is. And then you take what happens.

Q. You've seen a lot, but have you ever had a situation where the guy's last start was in instructs and then he's starting in a --
TERRY FRANCONA: If it did, I can't remember, but normally, you know, over the course of a year things happen and I'm just glad that we were prepared enough to send him there because if we had let him go home or let him sit around here he wouldn't have been prepared for the start.

So I thought we did a pretty good job of having guys continuing to play baseball even though it meant going out to Arizona. We told everybody when they did, we said, Hey, you're a hamstring or an elbow or something away from being on Field 4 in Goodyear and being on television, and it's true.

Q. When you look at Andrew Miller, realistically how many innings could you extend him to in terms of winning a game, especially like this, with a young pitcher?
TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, I don't know. It's not just innings, it's probably how much you work for each inning. He's had -- there were times earlier in the year when we would bring him in, I think the sixth inning was the earliest we brought him in, with the idea of getting out of that inning or -- well, he'd throw five or six pitches to the guy during the inning. He was like, I can go back out. Then he threw seven the next inning.

You get in a rhythm sometimes, guys are making quicker outs. We're not just going to put a limit on him because there's a number. I think we always check with our guys because that's what's most important is how they feel.

Q. How much, if any, thought was put into maybe starting one of your relievers and then bringing Merritt in as one of your early relievers with matchups in mind?
TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I'm not sure how we're going to match him up. They only have one left-hand hitter in the lineup. And most days they might have two. So it would be hard to match him up. And he's not a real left-on-left guy. His splits are pretty even across the board.

I just think the thought behind that was that if he pitches well he's stretched out as a starter and he could continue to pitch into the game. Then again, you've got to get him out, but he's physically able to do that.

All of our relievers, they're not built for that. So, one, you're asking them to start a game and you're going to ask guys to throw a lot that's going to maybe potentially hurt them for the next time out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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