Oct. 15 Terry Francona pregame interview

Q. I know we've talked a lot about Andrew's role and his willingness to accept it. When you go back, like when Lucroy vetoed the trade, he said a lot of it was because an option, he had to worry about his future contract. The fact that Andrew is under contract for the next couple of years, does that allow him the freedom and the willingness to accept whatever role you put him in when guys have made it clear that saves are important and numbers are important?

TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, yes. I've heard him say that exact same thing. Knowing Andrew, I'm guessing he'd probably pitch anyway. But I do think it's easier when you've made your -- you've got a big contract. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think I was mentioning yesterday that love to see the way bullpens get rewarded, like in arbitration, things like that, change a little bit because I think you'd see bullpens used differently.

And it makes it hard sometimes I think on managers because, I mean, I get it. If you're a young kid and you haven't made any money, the best way to make money is to get some saves. And bullpens can be volatile, too. The Riveras of the world aren't grown on trees. So I understand it.

Q. As Game 4 has gotten a little bit closer, have you given more thought, and by taking Corey out after a hundred pitches, he looked like he was still pretty strong, does that leave you a little bit of flexibility in maybe bringing him back short?

TERRY FRANCONA: You know what, we've talked about not just Game 4 but Games 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 because there's a little bit of ambiguity there, with Trevor and his finger, with Clevinger not being stretched out. So there are some options I think for us moving forward.

I think we'll go game by game. And all of our pitchers are unbelievably cooperative, which is not shocking. And we'll keep communicating with them. Because the one thing we don't want to do is make a decision that we think puts our team in a good spot if the pitchers don't feel that way. So we'll keep communicating with them. And we'll do what we think is in our best interest. But it can't just be for one game, because there's always a trickle-down effect.

So if you're going to do something in Game 3, you've got to be prepared for 4, 5, and 6, too.

Q. You said one concern with Bauer was the finger healing?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah.

Q. How is the finger today compared to yesterday?

TERRY FRANCONA: Good. Last night, they were going to actually put a couple more stitches in just to ensure the healing and they decided not to. They thought even in a day's time it was already progressing very well. I think he's going to be just fine.

Q. Much has been made about the strength of the Toronto starting rotation. Following up on your earlier answer, it sounds like there are some decisions to be made, but how do you see the pitching matchups in the wake of Game 1?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I'm not sure I really care too much about the ones down the road. But today's matchup, you're right, they do have good pitching. I mean, Happ is a left-hander that has the ability to get the fastball past your barrel, whether you're left- or right-handed. He had a heck of a year. When they signed him, I don't know if they knew he'd be a bargain, because he's won a lot of games for them.

I think quietly, because their offense is so good, I think sometimes their pitching has gone under the radar, like you were saying, because they have good pitching.

Q. Miller has gotten a lot of attention, deservedly so, but the way you use him, how much does Allen and Shaw and Otero make that possible, if you didn't have them behind him and in front of him, would you be able to use him that way?

TERRY FRANCONA: No, you couldn't, because it's one thing to stop a rally or put out a fire, however you want to say it, early in the game. But if you can't hold it, it doesn't really do you any good. And that's what I try to say, and maybe I probably should say it more often, because without one or the other or all of them you're not going to get where you want to go. You're right, Andrew has gotten a lot of I think notoriety for what he's done, as he should. But I think Cody and before it's over Shaw, Otero, will have theirs, too.

Q. The ship has probably sailed on him ever starting again. But I think you were in Boston with him that year that transformation was made.

TERRY FRANCONA: The idea was not so much as a reliever starter, it was more simplifying his delivery. When he was a young kid he had a lot of moving parts, like a lanky, young kid would. And he threw across his body. Some made it effective, but it also made it hard for him to repeat his delivery. I just thought if he could simplify it. And at the time I think John Farrell was there. I think John had either just left or it was Curt Young, but the idea was just to not have Opening Day be the finish line.

That was the hard part, teams were -- we weren't the only team that wanted to try to sign him, but we wanted to try to look at the big picture as opposed to maybe Opening Day. And I think finally after a lot of phone calls he bought into that. And as he started to get it, we called him up later in the year and then I was leaving. And he sort of picked it up and did okay. (Laughter.)

Q. You guys seemed to welcome with open arms Abe when he came back, and he seemed to have some big games in the second half. Can you talk about what he did for you, and what the message was from you guys to him when it was time for him to step back when the playoffs started?

TERRY FRANCONA: It was hard for him. He didn't want to leave. He's a really conscientious kid. But we kind of told him flat out, you know, that you knew this day was going to come, so did we. And that get through this, just like you do everything else. And when you come back next year you'll be ready to go and it will be in the rearview mirror. But we knew this was coming. But it was still hard for him the day he had to leave.

Q. Whose idea was it in Boston? You want to take full credit for making Andrew who he is today or was it one guy's idea?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't work with the pitchers. Shoot, I will admit that I made a lot of phone calls because I thought there was something there that was really special. But that's all I could take credit for.