The ESPN analyst and former Boston Red Sox manager, interviewed for the job Friday. A formal announcement is expected Monday. Francona led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. He was let go last season after a September collapse in which they went 7-20 down the stretch. Francona will replace Manny Acta, who was fired in September. Sandy Alomar Jr. managed the team in the interim to finish the season. He was the only other known candidate for the job. Francona also managed the Philadelphia Phillies (1997-2000) and was with the Red Sox for eight seasons. ---Atlanta Braves star Chipper Jones did not end his career the way he wanted as his team was eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Friday night in the one-game National League Wild Card playoff. Instead of leading the Braves to a World Series title, he went 1-for-5 and committed a costly error in his final game as a major leaguer. Still, the 40-year-old third baseman is likely headed to the Hall of Fame. "I wanted to come out here and play well," Jones said on MLB.com after the game. "Today, my heart is broken not for me, my heart is broken for my teammates and my coaching staff, and all these fans that have been so great to us this year. "But I'll be OK. It's just one of those things. You come to the park, and I walk out of here knowing that I brought it every single day. I think when you walk out of here knowing that you brought it every day, it makes walking away on the final day a little bit easier." Jones blamed himself for the loss. His throwing error in the fourth inning led to three Cardinals runs. "If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have double-clutched and made sure I got a four-seam grip," Jones said, "and give (Dan) Uggla a little more time to get to second base and give myself a better opportunity to make a truer throw." The game was marred by a 19-minute delay in the eighth inning when a controversial infield fly ruling led to fans littering the field with bottles and cans. The Braves then played the remainder of the game under protest because of the call. Before Jones left the clubhouse, many of his teammates hugged him. "Everybody in this town loves him, and we're going to miss him dearly," Uggla said. "It's going to be different with him not being here next year." Jones, recognized as one of the greatest switch hitters of all time, owns Braves records in most major offensive statistical categories. He also ranks fifth in hits, third in home runs and second in RBI all-time among switch hitters. He is regarded along with Eddie Murray and Mickey Mantle among the greatest ever switch hitters. Jones, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig are the only players in major league history with at least 2,500 hits, 1,500 walks, 1,500 runs, 500 doubles, 450 home runs and 1,500 RBI while hitting .300 with at least a .400 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage. ---Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who will be a free agent, said he would love to return to the team but his decision will be led by God. The devoutly religious Hamilton has been scrutinized for his play lately. He was booed during a 0-for-4 game Friday as the Rangers were eliminated by the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 in the American Wild playoff. "You hate to have it happen possibly the last game ever here, but at the same time, it's one of those things," Hamilton said on ESPN Dallas. "I gave it my all every time I went out there. Hopefully, (fans) appreciated it more than they didn't. I think they do. It's one of those things, hey, we didn't get a win, but you can't win them all." After the game, Hamilton said the Rangers would be his first priority, but is open to going to another team if that's where God leads him. "I always would love to stay here," he said. "They understand that. They know that. When we talked earlier in the year, we didn't get things worked out, so we said we'd wait until the year was over. They obviously get first shot. I told them they'd get first shot at the end of the year. We'll see what happens." When he was asked what would factor into his decision, he said "with prayer, where God says so. With prayer, where God says so. And with prayer, where God says so. Period. He's always led me to the right places." Hamilton ended the season in a slump. It included a five-game absence for an eye condition doctors told him may have been caused by too much caffeine. The Rangers lost eight of their last 10 games as Hamilton went 10-for-43 with no homers, no walks and 19 strikeouts. Texas lost the AL West division championship on the last day of the season in getting swept by the Oakland A's. The 2010 AL MVP had led the Rangers to two straight World Series appearances, but may have played his last game as a Ranger on a bad note and dealing with unsatisfied fans. "Personally, myself, it never would matter how high I was -- if I went to a sporting event, I would never boo somebody or I would never yell obscenities at somebody," said Hamilton, who is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He said the fans' treatment would not play a role in his decision to stay with the Rangers or go to another team. "To the fans, it's been a good ride," he said. "No matter if you send me off with boos or not, I still love you."
- Terry Francona
- Chipper Jones