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Terry Francona on The Big Show: Kevin Youkilis getting traded ‘was the best thing for both situations’

07.12.12 at 7:35 pm ET
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Former Red Sox manager and current ESPN baseball analyst Terry Francona made an appearance on The Big Show on Thursday afternoon to discuss numerous topics surrounding the Red Sox, including the clubhouse, which was described by Buster Olney last month as “toxic.” While Francona said that he has no first-hand knowledge of the dynamics at play in the Sox’ clubhouse this year (“That’s none of my business,” he said), he did offer backing to his colleague.

“I’ve known Buster long enough to know that he wouldn’t have wrote something unless people told him about it,” Francona said. “I mean he’s pretty conscientious about what he does. I think in September last year, and I didn’t use that word, but I alluded to a lot of things that I wasn’t comfortable with in that clubhouse. That’s part of the reason I felt like I said my voice wasn’t carrying the way it had anymore because things were happening that I wasn’t comfortable with.”

Francona also talked about the re-emergence of Kevin Youkilis and how he thought the trade situation involving him and Will Middlebrooks went down.

“These things happen sometimes,” Francona said. “Youk was on the disabled list a couple of times, they bring up the kid Middlebrooks. I think everyone in the organization thought Middlebrooks was going to be a good player, but all of a sudden he comes up and not only is he the future, but he shows that he’s the present.

“I thought it was the best thing for both situations. They need to let Middlebrooks play, and Youk going to the White Sox, he’s got a little chip on his shoulder and he feels like he has something to prove. He’s going to help them too.”

Straying off of the Red Sox for a moment, Francona also talked about how he’s enjoying being an ESPN baseball analyst. But while he said there are parts of being a manager that he misses, he would only return in the right situation.

“I thought being fair to ESPN, I should jump in with both feet and try to be as good of an analyst as I could,” Francona said. “So that’s what I’ve tried to do. I didn’t want one foot in the door and one foot out. They have been unbelievably kind to me and I’m enjoying myself. But I’ve been in the dugout my whole life. I don’t know.

First of all, somebody has to want you and there’s not that many jobs. And second of all, it would have to be a job where I thought that I could excel or enjoy the challenge. Any manager’s job is a challenge, but I wouldn’t want to get in one just for the sake of managing because I’ve done that before. It would have to be one that I thought I could enjoy.”

To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.

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