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Oct. 16 Terry Francona workout day interview

MLB.com

Q. We were just talking to Trevor in here. He obviously seemed pretty optimistic about how he's feeling. What can you say about what the medical staff is telling you?

TERRY FRANCONA: They've done a terrific job. I think Trevor has, too. I mentioned it the first day, we're pretty fortunate we had Dr. Graham with us, and he's been getting treatment the whole time, almost like a pitcher with a blister. I really don't think this is going to affect his start one way or another, whether he gets them out or doesn't, I don't think this is going to be a big deal.

Q. Trevor did a good job of taking ownership of the mistake he made. Does he need to do that with his teammates or maybe he has already? The playoffs, it was a freak thing.

TERRY FRANCONA: He did. I talked to him. Everybody's talked to him. And he feels really bad.

Saying that, he was messing around with his drone. He wasn't out in some alley at 3:00 in the morning and got cut on a beer can. Guys do stuff in their -- it wasn't like he was waterskiing. He just cut his finger. It wasn't remotely malicious. So I know human nature, you feel bad, because he missed his start. But it wasn't remotely anything malicious.

Q. Obviously he's a little bit different, which we've discussed, but how do you sort of address that as a manager when you have a guy who his training methods are different, giving him room but also fitting him in the structure, and how does that sort of work with Trevor?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, how much time do you have? (Laughter.)

I think, one, I think Mickey has done a fantastic job with Trevor, because he's with him the majority of the time. I think when we first got Trevor we took the time to try to get to know him. And I think what -- a couple of things came as we got to know him is that his training methods aren't really that different. There are some. We've all seen the video of the long tossing and stuff like that. But even that's kind of tamed down a little bit. And I think over the years he's kind of come this way a little bit and we've tried to come this way a little bit and kind of meet in the middle.

And we've also told him things about our team that aren't negotiable. And he's handled those really well. And I think he's learning as he goes. He admits that. I guess we all are, really, anyway.

But the one really good thing is that when it's time to pitch, he's ready, and he competes and he's not scared.

Q. Can you talk about the process that you had had in determining how long you're going to use Andrew from Game 1 to Game 2. In other words, the conversation that took place between Game 1 and Game 2 and is that something that you typically will do with a pitcher in this situation?

TERRY FRANCONA: Mickey and I always talk before the game. And the reason being is -- well, Andrew is the perfect example. I asked Mickey yesterday, What do you think is realistic with Andrew today? Not what can we squeak out of him, but what can he do safely and still be dominant. And he said 20 pitches. And I think the last pitch he threw was his 21st pitch. Again -- 18 -- that doesn't really matter. But I guess my point is, is if you do it during the game, like the way he's pitching, it's so easy to go, Oh, he can go one more, he can go one more, he can go one more. And you one more yourself into trouble. So before the emotion is there of the game, Mickey tells me what he thinks is correct, and we try to live by that, and it helps.

Q. Did you talk to Andrew before he pitches?

TERRY FRANCONA: No. I think Andrew just wants to go until you take him out. I don't think he's real big on like, Hey, one more hitter, or something like that, he just wants to keep pitching.

Q. You mentioned Mickey a couple of times. Whether it's game planning like with Tomlin yesterday or Sandy and his job with the baserunners, or Millsy standing next to you in the dugout and talking through situations. We don't see that behind the scenes. How important are those guys to what you've done up to this point?

TERRY FRANCONA: I'm so glad you asked that. I'm always the one that gets to sit here and talk, whether it's bragging about our players or talking about our organization or whatever. But our coaches work so hard and so tirelessly. I mean, from the hitting guys that -- anybody that's been in the game, Steve knows this, your hitting guys, you never see them, they're like gym rats, they're down in the cage all day. It's certainly not glamorous. But they've taken a bunch of guys, and through hard work we've actually been among the league leaders in run scoring, which is pretty phenomenal.

Mickey from day 1 has been unbelievably advanced for somebody that maybe wasn't a veteran pitching coach a couple of years ago. He's confident. He's confident enough to listen to everybody, take in what he wants, sift through some things, but get help. He allows the pitchers to be themselves, which I think is important.

Sandy, we all know Sandy's career as a player, but as a coach he's kind of evolved. And he wanted to go to first base. We didn't send him there, because he wanted to help the runners, and he has a feel for that. And as you can see, it's really helped.

And Millsy, if you could hear some of those conversations, I mean, he's directly responsible for so much that goes on during the game. And that's all with me being in his ear, probably making him crazy half the time.

Q. With Napoli, dating back to the start of September, he's hitting like .130-ish or something like that. We've seen he can get hot in spurts. A, how happy are you that the lineup and the pitching staff have been able to get the wins at this point, but also, how much are you looking forward to if he gets hot what he could do for you here?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think you get to this part of the year and you're going to see some skewed batting averages, it's a short sample size and you're facing some of the best staffs in baseball, and you're not facing the last few guys in the bullpen or the fourth and fifth starters, normally.

So you're going to see a lot of that. I think with Nap the really good thing is, and he's well aware of this, is he always has that three-run homerun sitting there. And he's dangerous always. That has to be respected. And he doesn't let it wear on him. You can see his face after a win. You could never tell if he's got three hits or no hits after a win. That's all he cares about.

And like I said at the beginning, he's got that one swing that can change a game or a series, and he knows that.

Q. You guys have pitched great, obviously. And the scoring seems to be down a little bit. How much do you think advance scouting reports and just the attention to guys' weaknesses and things has an impact maybe on offense at this time of the year?

TERRY FRANCONA: You know, I think even not just in this series but in baseball in general now, because of the way teams defend and take away some of the field I think you're taking away a lot of hits, which leads to taking away runs. In a series like this, you certainly spend more time in your advance meeting because of the importance of it. You can't do that every series all year. Guys would wear out.

But I also think there's other things, too, like when you start at 4:10 you're giving the pitchers a huge advantage. And I understand it. I'm not complaining about it, just the way it is. But if the sun is shining it's difficult. I mean, really tough. So you're going five or six innings where it doesn't mean you're not going to score, but you're at a disadvantage of an offense.

Q. We saw after the game yesterday you guys held a simulated game for a bunch of your relievers who are not getting work right now. Just how important was that, and I guess it's kind of a blessing in disguise?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I know it's probably a rarity, I know I saw somebody getting interviewed, one of our guys was throwing in the background. The reason we did that was not to embarrass anybody, but if we did it today, well, then, we've got a game tomorrow and there's no script that says who's going to pitch. So if we did it yesterday they get some needed work facing hitters, not just throwing. It allowed our guys to face some pitching. And they have a day in between, so if something happens during the game, we have everybody available.

Q. We were just talking to Trevor in here. He obviously seemed pretty optimistic about how he's feeling. What can you say about what the medical staff is telling you?

TERRY FRANCONA: They've done a terrific job. I think Trevor has, too. I mentioned it the first day, we're pretty fortunate we had Dr. Graham with us, and he's been getting treatment the whole time, almost like a pitcher with a blister. I really don't think this is going to affect his start one way or another, whether he gets them out or doesn't, I don't think this is going to be a big deal.

Q. Trevor did a good job of taking ownership of the mistake he made. Does he need to do that with his teammates or maybe he has already? The playoffs, it was a freak thing.

TERRY FRANCONA: He did. I talked to him. Everybody's talked to him. And he feels really bad.

Saying that, he was messing around with his drone. He wasn't out in some alley at 3:00 in the morning and got cut on a beer can. Guys do stuff in their -- it wasn't like he was waterskiing. He just cut his finger. It wasn't remotely malicious. So I know human nature, you feel bad, because he missed his start. But it wasn't remotely anything malicious.

Q. Obviously he's a little bit different, which we've discussed, but how do you sort of address that as a manager when you have a guy who his training methods are different, giving him room but also fitting him in the structure, and how does that sort of work with Trevor?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, how much time do you have? (Laughter.)

I think, one, I think Mickey has done a fantastic job with Trevor, because he's with him the majority of the time. I think when we first got Trevor we took the time to try to get to know him. And I think what -- a couple of things came as we got to know him is that his training methods aren't really that different. There are some. We've all seen the video of the long tossing and stuff like that. But even that's kind of tamed down a little bit. And I think over the years he's kind of come this way a little bit and we've tried to come this way a little bit and kind of meet in the middle.

And we've also told him things about our team that aren't negotiable. And he's handled those really well. And I think he's learning as he goes. He admits that. I guess we all are, really, anyway.

But the one really good thing is that when it's time to pitch, he's ready, and he competes and he's not scared.

Q. Can you talk about the process that you had had in determining how long you're going to use Andrew from Game 1 to Game 2. In other words, the conversation that took place between Game 1 and Game 2 and is that something that you typically will do with a pitcher in this situation?

TERRY FRANCONA: Mickey and I always talk before the game. And the reason being is -- well, Andrew is the perfect example. I asked Mickey yesterday, What do you think is realistic with Andrew today? Not what can we squeak out of him, but what can he do safely and still be dominant. And he said 20 pitches. And I think the last pitch he threw was his 21st pitch. Again -- 18 -- that doesn't really matter. But I guess my point is, is if you do it during the game, like the way he's pitching, it's so easy to go, Oh, he can go one more, he can go one more, he can go one more. And you one more yourself into trouble. So before the emotion is there of the game, Mickey tells me what he thinks is correct, and we try to live by that, and it helps.

Q. Did you talk to Andrew before he pitches?

TERRY FRANCONA: No. I think Andrew just wants to go until you take him out. I don't think he's real big on like, Hey, one more hitter, or something like that, he just wants to keep pitching.

Q. You mentioned Mickey a couple of times. Whether it's game planning like with Tomlin yesterday or Sandy and his job with the baserunners, or Millsy standing next to you in the dugout and talking through situations. We don't see that behind the scenes. How important are those guys to what you've done up to this point?

TERRY FRANCONA: I'm so glad you asked that. I'm always the one that gets to sit here and talk, whether it's bragging about our players or talking about our organization or whatever. But our coaches work so hard and so tirelessly. I mean, from the hitting guys that -- anybody that's been in the game, Steve knows this, your hitting guys, you never see them, they're like gym rats, they're down in the cage all day. It's certainly not glamorous. But they've taken a bunch of guys, and through hard work we've actually been among the league leaders in run scoring, which is pretty phenomenal.

Mickey from day 1 has been unbelievably advanced for somebody that maybe wasn't a veteran pitching coach a couple of years ago. He's confident. He's confident enough to listen to everybody, take in what he wants, sift through some things, but get help. He allows the pitchers to be themselves, which I think is important.

Sandy, we all know Sandy's career as a player, but as a coach he's kind of evolved. And he wanted to go to first base. We didn't send him there, because he wanted to help the runners, and he has a feel for that. And as you can see, it's really helped.

And Millsy, if you could hear some of those conversations, I mean, he's directly responsible for so much that goes on during the game. And that's all with me being in his ear, probably making him crazy half the time.

Q. With Napoli, dating back to the start of September, he's hitting like .130-ish or something like that. We've seen he can get hot in spurts. A, how happy are you that the lineup and the pitching staff have been able to get the wins at this point, but also, how much are you looking forward to if he gets hot what he could do for you here?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think you get to this part of the year and you're going to see some skewed batting averages, it's a short sample size and you're facing some of the best staffs in baseball, and you're not facing the last few guys in the bullpen or the fourth and fifth starters, normally.

So you're going to see a lot of that. I think with Nap the really good thing is, and he's well aware of this, is he always has that three-run homerun sitting there. And he's dangerous always. That has to be respected. And he doesn't let it wear on him. You can see his face after a win. You could never tell if he's got three hits or no hits after a win. That's all he cares about.

And like I said at the beginning, he's got that one swing that can change a game or a series, and he knows that.

Q. You guys have pitched great, obviously. And the scoring seems to be down a little bit. How much do you think advance scouting reports and just the attention to guys' weaknesses and things has an impact maybe on offense at this time of the year?

TERRY FRANCONA: You know, I think even not just in this series but in baseball in general now, because of the way teams defend and take away some of the field I think you're taking away a lot of hits, which leads to taking away runs. In a series like this, you certainly spend more time in your advance meeting because of the importance of it. You can't do that every series all year. Guys would wear out.

But I also think there's other things, too, like when you start at 4:10 you're giving the pitchers a huge advantage. And I understand it. I'm not complaining about it, just the way it is. But if the sun is shining it's difficult. I mean, really tough. So you're going five or six innings where it doesn't mean you're not going to score, but you're at a disadvantage of an offense.

Q. We saw after the game yesterday you guys held a simulated game for a bunch of your relievers who are not getting work right now. Just how important was that, and I guess it's kind of a blessing in disguise?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I know it's probably a rarity, I know I saw somebody getting interviewed, one of our guys was throwing in the background. The reason we did that was not to embarrass anybody, but if we did it today, well, then, we've got a game tomorrow and there's no script that says who's going to pitch. So if we did it yesterday they get some needed work facing hitters, not just throwing. It allowed our guys to face some pitching. And they have a day in between, so if something happens during the game, we have everybody available.