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Francona gets what Joe, Cash have to do

When Red Sox manager Terry Francona ran into Yankees general manager Brian Cashman near the batting cage before Sunday night's game, he couldn't hold back. Breaking into a big grin, Francona asked, "So, how's your day going?"

Of course, Francona knew exactly how it was going. He can relate. Like the Yankees, the Red Sox have been forced to change the roles of some longtime stalwarts.

"What's more important is how you get through problems and where you go from there," Francona said. "David [Ortiz] and I kind of had to slug it out a little bit last year in April [when he benched the slumping Ortiz]. There's no getting around it. But we did, and he came through and got better for it."

Red Sox captain Jason Varitek lost his starting job last season after a trade for Victor Martinez. Describing his transition to part-time player, Varitek said: "It kind of happened with having to gauge the situation on my end without necessarily having to be told, just my vision of what's going on. Yeah, it's hard. It's hard."

Earlier this season, Francona had to move high-priced free agent Carl Crawford from third to eighth in the batting order because he was struggling so badly. "Carl has been nothing but professional in everything," Francona said. "He won the clubhouse over with his work ethic."

Francona hopes to move up Crawford at some point.

It would be understandable if the Red Sox took some pleasure from the drama in the Yankees' clubhouse, but Varitek said: "We've got to worry about our own sandbox."


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