Francona at ease in Boston

BOSTON — Back at Fenway Park as a manager for the first time since being let go by the Red Sox in 2011, Terry Francona felt right at home in the visitors dugout Thursday, calm and funny wearing his Indians cap.

"Being in a dugout or clubhouse, there's no place I'm more comfortable," Francona said before the game, sitting opposite the dugout where he sat for eight seasons as Boston's manager. "Part of the reason I'm okay with this is I'm really proud of coming here with this hat on, this uniform.

"And that takes nothing away from the eight years I was here. It makes it easier for me to look back on some of the fonder memories, and now you start new ones in another place."

In his first season as their manager in 2004, the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. Three years later, they won another. And four years after that he was let go following a September collapse.

"I wish the ending would have been different," said Francona, who spent last season as an ESPN analyst, then was hired to replace Manny Acta. The Indians started Thursday in first place in the AL Central, then routed Boston 12-3.

"I wasn't going to Cleveland to go to pasture," Francona said. "Every game means the same to me here in Cleveland as it ever did here (in Boston). Our goals are exactly the same: to win the game we're playing"

Sox slugger David Ortiz came over and embraced his former manager. Later, Francona received a standing ovation when he was shown on the videoboard. "These are some of the best fans in the world," he said. "If you like baseball, this is a good place to be, and I got to be a part of that. I feel very fortunate."

Canseco denies rape claim: Former slugger Jose Canseco, 48, denied a woman's claim that he sexually assaulted her, calling the allegations in Nevada "laughable" before playing in an independent league game in Fort Worth, Texas. Police in Las Vegas said they were investigating a complaint, but there have been no arrests, and no charges have been filed. Word about the investigation became public after Canseco posted information about it on Twitter.

Healing Yankees: 1B Mark Teixeira (right wrist) could soon start playing in minor-league games while LHP Andy Pettitte (strained back muscle) played catch for the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list last Friday. Teixeira has been in simulated games this week at the minor-league complex in Tampa. Pettitte, 40, will throw again today.

Phillies' Utley Out: Five-time All-Star 2B Chase Utley went on the DL with an oblique strain and could miss up to four weeks.

Blue Jays: The team held a moment of silence to mark the death of scout Epy Guerrero, who died at 71 in his native Dominican Republic. Mr. Guerrero brought several top players to the Jays, including Tony Fernandez, Alfredo Griffin and Carlos Delgado.

Diamondbacks: OF Adam Eaton's injured left elbow has an irritation but no structural damage. Eaton, who will spend 2-3 three weeks doing strengthening exercises then begin a throwing program, was within days of a return to the Diamondbacks when he felt discomfort during a start Monday at Triple A.

Rangers: RHP Derek Lowe, 39, was put on unconditional release waivers after allowing 13 runs in 13 innings over nine relief appearances. Utility man Mark Teahen was signed to a minor-league contract.

Francona at ease in Boston 05/23/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 24, 2013 12:10am]

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