Dustin Pedroia Respects Terry Francona ‘Like You Can’t Believe,’ Would ‘Play for Him for Free’

Dustin Pedroia Respects Terry Francona 'Like You Can't Believe,' Would 'Play for Him for Free'As the circus at Fenway Park heads into its latest act, Red Sox players have remained largely silent. Until Wednesday.

Speaking while on vacation in Mexico, Dustin Pedroia graced WEEI’s The Big Show with his usual gusto, railing against a Boston Globe article detailing the issues within the Red Sox clubhouse and throwing his support behind maligned ex-manager Terry Francona.

"It’s pretty much not fair, and it hurts man. It’s not good," Pedroia began the interview when asked if he read the Globe piece. "Listen, we’re all baseball players. I showed up to work every single day ready to beat the other team, and everyone else did that too. I mean, we’re a family. We had the best record in baseball up until September whatever. Then we ran out of gas. We didn’t play well in the end. That doesn’t have anything to do with Tito or Theo [Epstein] or any players or what went on in the clubhouse.

"The leadership was there. We had guys that cared. We just didn’t play well at the end. That’s it. The media can point fingers, oh some guys were out of shape, some guys were drinking in the clubhouse, some guys were doing that, but that’s not the case. We didn’t play well. That’s the bottom line."

Among the more shocking items in the Globe story was word from a team source that illustrated some personal problems for Francona, including marital issues and his use of pain-killers. Pedroia said that portion of the article hurt him more than anything.

"I’m not surprised about anything, but it hurts," Pedroia said. "I played for this guy for five years, and he’s had everyone’s back since day one. Yeah, he might take the hit for some things and the way the team’s playing and stuff like that, but from day one, he’s had my back and he’s had everyone’s back. He’s protected every single guy in that clubhouse, and that’s why I respect him like you can’t believe.

"Whatever job he gets, if he needs me for a couple of games, just let me know. I’ll go play for free. That’s how much I care about this guy. This guy’s my family and for him to have to deal with this. He’s the best manager in the history of the Red Sox organization. He won two World Series. Look at the run he’s had there. It’s pretty remarkable. I think that’s the part that hurts. Whoever the person is that’s saying that, I think they need to take a step back and kind of look in the mirror and understand what they’re saying about a guy because I think a lot of guys in this organization have his back and I’m definitely one of them."

Pedroia just turned 28 in August, but he’s been a leader on the team for years. He also took to the defense of another leader, captain Jason Varitek, who was deemed too lax as the clubhouse reportedly got out of control down the stretch.

“We try our hardest as players to police each other. Tek is the best," Pedroia said of Varitek. “I know, from what I’ve read, he’s taken some shots about how he wasn’t the captain and wasn’t being a leader. That’s false. Tek’s been there. He’s said things to me. He says things to everybody. He’ll say things to Jacoby [Ellsbury] to make him a better player. Everybody. Leadership, I know 7-20 in September looks bad and everybody’s saying, ‘Oh, lack of leadership.’ That’s not true."

Pedroia was also asked about some of the shenanigans rumored to have taken place, including beer-drinking during games.

"I don’t drink but we’re all grown men," he said. "The way I think about all the stuff that’s coming out, we’re all grown men. If you want to have a few beers after the game, that’s fine. If you go 0-for-4 with a few punchouts and you need to have a couple of beers, have a couple of beers. That’s after the game though. I didn’t play in three games this year … I don’t know what’s going on in the clubhouse, neither does a lot of guys, during the game. I don’t look down at the guys you are saying that about, by any means, I just hope it doesn’t affect our play on the field. If it affects our play on the field, we need to make an adjustment, but if it doesn’t, I don’t care what you do to get yourself right for the game."

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