Terry Francona Fires Back, Defends Theo Epstein in Wake of Buck Showalter Comments


March 24, 2011

JUPITER, Fla. — Red Sox manager Terry Francona came to his boss’ defense Thursday.

One day after comments made by Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter criticizing Boston general manager Theo Epstein became public, Francona offered up a reply.

“I think Theo’s really smart, whether he has a high payroll or not,” Francona said from Roger Dean Stadium, where his club was preparing to play the Florida Marlins.

The Sox skipper then joked that Epstein has “proved with his choice of managers that he’s smart.”

Showalter, who took over in Baltimore during the 2010 season, made comments in a Men’s Journal piece which suggested that Epstein’s success is a product of Boston’s higher payroll. Showalter also took a shot at New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter for the way in which Jeter exaggerates his body movements on inside pitches.

For what it’s worth, the Orioles host the Red Sox for three games April 26-28. Epstein was at Camden Yards when the two teams played a series around the same time last season. Baltimore comes to Fenway Park for the first time May 16-17.

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