Francona gives Perez, others clean slate
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Terry Francona met with closer Chris Perez over the offseason, but the manager did not waste any time asking about the pitcher's off-field drama last year. Francona did not feel it was necessary to go over old news.
"I just wanted to get to know him just like everybody else," Francona said on Thursday. "I didn't really feel the need to dissect that. I just wanted to say hello and get to know him. Really, it never came up. I don't expect it to again. That's kind of how we dealt with it."
Last season, Perez made headlines with negative comments about Cleveland's low attendance and the ownership's spending in recent years. The closer also took heat for an argument with a fan in Oakland -- an incident that was caught on camera and posted on the Internet -- and he was fined by Major League Baseball for taunting the Royals via Twitter.
On the mound, Perez had a solid season that included 39 saves, a 3.59 ERA and a second straight trip to the All-Star Game.
Francona said his only request is that he hears about any issues his players might have before reading it in a news report.
"Exactly, but that's with everybody," Francona said. "For me, to come in and feel differently about [Perez], that's not fair to him. I really didn't have any different talk with him than I did with anybody else.
"I think he desperately wants to win and be competitive. I think he got really excited as the winter progressed and he saw what was happening here. I think his heart is in the right place."