Pedroia on Tito: 'My heart's broken for him'

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who has had a close, father-son type of relationship with Terry Francona during their years together in Boston, defended his manager and said he'll always be grateful to him:

"It’s hard, man, with the way we played this year, but by no means is it Tito’s fault. We get paid a lot of money and the biggest thing that I am upset with, and I think a lot of guys are upset with, is the accountability of each other. It’s not the manager’s fault. We need to hold ourselves more accountable as a team, as players. There are a lot of things that went on that was disrespectful and we played like it. That’s basically it, but Tito’s had every single guy’s back in that clubhouse from Day 1.

“This is tough. He’s had my back, he gave me a chance when I was struggling as a rookie. I was hitting .150 and he stood by me and helped me become the player that I am today. I’ll forever remember that. I’m sure there will be tons of offers for him because of what’s he’s accomplished and what kind of guy and manager he is. He’s going to move and I’ll definitely be following him.

“I wish him the best and I hope he gets a job in the National League for a team that we don’t get a chance to play because it would be like playing against one of my family members.

“I love him. He’s given me every opportunity in the world and given me the respect to play the game with a freedom, and that’s what he allows us players to do. Geez, man, he’s done everything for me and everything for my family ... he’s done everything for me in the five years I’ve been in the big leagues. My heart’s broken for him and I wish he was back and I wish I could have played my whole career for him. It’s going to be hard. I’m sure he’ll come back a better manager and a better person for it. Us, as an organization, we’re going to move forward together.”