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Bosox owner vents on radio

The Red Sox gave ex-Rays leftfielder Carl Crawford a seven-year, $142 million deal before the season, but owner John Henry didn’t like it. “I’ll just tell you that at the time I opposed the deal,” he said on a radio show.

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The Red Sox gave ex-Rays leftfielder Carl Crawford a seven-year, $142 million deal before the season, but owner John Henry didn’t like it. “I’ll just tell you that at the time I opposed the deal,” he said on a radio show.

BOSTON — Red Sox principal owner John Henry had apparently heard enough.

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Angry with what was being discussed on a Boston sports-talk radio show, Henry stopped by WBZ-FM 98.5 on Friday to deny that the club conducted a smear campaign against Terry Francona after letting him go as manager.

Henry said he was driving in his car when he heard the hosts on the show accusing ownership of leaking information to the Boston Globe that reflected poorly on Francona. In a front-page article this week, the paper cited team sources it did not identify as saying Francona was distracted by the breakup of his marriage and painkillers he took after knee surgery.

Francona, who left the team in a mutual decision Sept. 30, has denied the allegations.

"It's ridiculous that people would talk about things like that," Henry said during a 70-minute interview. "(Francona) brought two World Series to this franchise. He's arguably the best manager we've ever had."

But Henry was upset team sources were involved.

"If it's someone with the team — and that's what it says in the newspaper — then I'm very upset about it," he said. "It's reprehensible that it was written about in the first place."

Henry also said he opposed signing former Rays outfielder Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million free-agent contract last offseason but leaves those decisions to the baseball people.

"(Crawford was) definitely a baseball signing," he said. "In fact, anyone involved in the process, anybody involved in upper management with the Red Sox will tell you that I personally opposed that. They all know that.

"I'll just tell you that at the time I opposed the deal, but I don't meddle to the point of making decisions for our baseball people."

As for the poor clubhouse culture — including allegations in the Boston Globe story that star pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey drank beer, ate fried chicken and played video games in the clubhouse during games on days they didn't pitch — Henry said he had no idea about the situation.

Cubs, Epstein waiting: The Cubs are still talking with the Red Sox about compensation in a deal to bring Boston general manager Theo Epstein to Chicago, the Associated Press reported. Epstein agreed to a reported five-year deal with the Cubs, but it's unclear whether Chicago has to send the Red Sox cash, prospects or both.

Rays' Shelton to coach MLB all-stars in Taiwan

The Rays' Derek Shelton was named hitting coach for the Major League Baseball all-star team that will tour Taiwan next month. No Rays are among the 19 players named to the initial roster Friday; Yankees stars Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano are the headliners. The team will be managed by the Giants' Bruce Bochy.

"Any time you get an opportunity to be part of something like this, to be around players in an all-star type of setting, it's something to be excited about," Shelton said.

Rays equipment/home clubhouse manager Chris Westmoreland also was selected for the trip, which includes five games against the Chinese Taipei national team Nov. 1-6.

Ramirez saga: Former Ray Manny Ramirez pleaded not guilty to a domestic battery charge involving his wife. Ramirez's attorney filed the written plea in Fort Lauderdale. Ramirez, who did not appear at the hearing and is free on $2,500 bail, was arrested Sept. 12 after his wife said he slapped her.

Giants fan improves: Giants fan Bryan Stow, 42, who was severely beaten March 31 outside Dodgers Stadium, is making progress at a rehabilitation center but still shows signs of confusion, his family said.

Mets: Bob Geren was hired as bench coach, four months after he was fired as manager of the Athletics. He replaces Chip Hale, who became the A's bench coach last week.

Phillies: Left-hander Cole Hamels had two surgeries, one to remove loose bodies from his left elbow and one to repair a hernia, and he can begin a throwing program in three to four weeks.

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.

Bosox owner vents on radio 10/14/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 15, 2011 12:31am]

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