The Boston Red Sox got a taste of life without manager Terry Francona on Wednesday. It’s a feeling they may have to get used to.
Bench coach Brad Mills will continue in his role as acting manager when the Red Sox open a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Francona was hospitalized before Wednesday’s 7-3 victory over the New York Yankees after complaining of chest pains. After undergoing a variety of tests, Francona, who turns 46 on April 22, was transferred back to Boston late Wednesday. He will remain under evaluation by Red Sox medical director Dr. Thomas Gill, a staff surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“I think everybody feels for him and we’re all concerned,” Mills said. “Our biggest concern is to make sure he’s going to be OK. I think we’re confident that he will be because he did get it taken care of so soon.”
It isn’t known whether Francona will rejoin the team this weekend in Toronto.
“I’m thinking about him. I think he’s going to be getting better,” Boston’s Johnny Damon said. “He’s being treated by the best doctors in the world.”
Boston rallied for the second straight day against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on Wednesday, scoring five times in the ninth inning en route to its first victory of the season. Helped by an error by Alex Rodriguez, the Red Sox reached Rivera for five runs—only one earned—and three hits with three walks in the inning.
The victory allowed Boston to avoid its first season-opening sweep at the hands of the Yankees in 60 years.
“Going into the off day 0-3 definitely would not have been great for us, especially with everything else going on,” Damon said. “These are the kind of games we have to win. We’re the Kardiac Kids, making baseball very interesting.”
Designated hitter David Ortiz carried over his hot hotting from the postseason, going 6-for-13 with one home run and two RBIs in the three games.
Bronson Arroyo will make his first start of the season Friday for Boston. The right-hander said he’s looking forward to this season after becoming one of the team’s most reliable starters in 2004.
“I’d like to go six innings every time out and give us an opportunity to win ballgames,” Arroyo said. “You do that, you pitch 200 innings, you give the team a chance to win most of the time out, that’s all you can really ask of your starter.”
Toronto nearly opened a season 3-0 for the first time since 1994, but the bullpen squandered a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning Wednesday, when Tampa Bay scored six times in an 8-5 victory.
“We won the series, but in my opinion, that’s an unacceptable loss,” catcher Gregg Zaun said. “Honestly, it starts now. It’s an attitude. When we get in those situations, more often than not, we have to slam the door shut.”
While Zaun was disappointed with Wednesday’s result, the 2-1 start is much better than the Blue Jays’ 0-3 record in each of the last two seasons.
Toronto scored 16 runs in the season-opening series, tying the Yankees for most in the AL.