Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia came to the defense of Terry Francona on Wednesday, telling Boston sports radio station WEEI he was "pretty upset" about allegations made by team sources in today's Boston Globe, including one that his former manager was distracted by marital issues and use of pain medication.
The Globe on Wednesday published an in-depth report that detailed the turmoil in the Red Sox clubhouse and the manager’s inability to do anything about it.
"A lot of stuff that was said is pretty much not fair and it hurts, man,” Pedroia said via phone from Mexico, where he was vacationing. "It's not good."
In particular, Pedroia, who had a close relationship with his now-former skipper, was ticked that someone in the organization would talk that way about Francona, who the second baseman said has “had everyone’s back since Day 1.”
“He’s protected every single guy in that clubhouse and that's why I respect him like you can't believe,” Pedroia said. "Whatever job he gets, if he needs me for a couple of games or whatever just let me know, I'll go play for free. That's how I care about this guy. This guy is my family.
"For him to have to deal with this, he's the best manager in the history of the Red Sox organization. He won two World Series, look at the run that he had there, it's pretty remarkable. That's the part that hurts and whoever the person it is that's saying this I think they need to take a step back and kind of look in the mirror and understand what they're saying about a guy. A lot of guys in this organization have his back and I'm one of them."
Pedroia also took issue with the notion that disinterest and a lack of passion was behind the team’s September slide. In Pedroia’s eyes, the reason behind the slide is simple: “We ran out of gas.”
“We had the best record in baseball up until September and then we ran out of gas,” Pedroia said. "We didn’t play well in the end. That doesn’t have anything to do with Tito or Theo or any players or what went on in the clubhouse. The leadership was there. We had guys that cared. We just didn’t play well in the end. That’s it.
“You guys in the media point fingers and say 'some guys were out of shape, some guys were drinking in the clubhouse ... .' But that’s not the case. We didn’t play well. That’s the bottom line. It’s not Tito's fault. It’s not anybody’s fault. We didn’t play well. It’s our whole team’s fault. We didn’t win games when we needed to. That’s why we didn’t make the playoffs and that’s why our season ended."
Pedroia was adamant that a lack of motivation was not an issue with the Red Sox.
“I played for (Francona) for five years and he never had to motivate me,” Pedroia said. "When you play in an environment like Boston, a manager shouldn’t have to motivate you. You should be self-motivated. … And to be honest with you, we were (motivated). Everyone in that clubhouse wanted to win the World Series.”