GOODYEAR, Ariz. — On his first day back at spring training after his dad’s funeral, Terry Francona seemed to exhale when the questions eventually turned to baseball.
“Thanks, I made it,” the Cleveland manager said.
He spent the first six minutes of his media session Sunday reflecting on his father, former Indians player Tito Francona.
While Francona remained composed, it was clear what his dad meant to him and how good it was to be back with his baseball crew.
“It’s so nice to be back. I went back for two days to be with my family and then I came back here to kind of be with my family,” he said. “That’s about as close as you could feel with the people that aren’t your family. … It’s not just baseball. It’s Cleveland, it’s the people here, and I know that.”
Francona left the Arizona camp on Thursday afternoon to go to Pennsylvania to attend the private services for his father.
John “Tito” Francona, who proudly watched his son follow his footsteps to the major leagues, died unexpectedly at his home on Tuesday night in New Brighton, Pennsylvania. He was 84.
The Indians manager is also known as “Tito,” a nickname his grandfather had given his father.
“The way he explained it to me is that it’s kind of a little, kind of a kid that’s in the way, kind of a little ornery, like energetic,” Francona said. “But not always complimentary, maybe. Kind of depended who gave you the description.”
The elder Francona made his big league debut in 1956 with the Baltimore Orioles, and retired as a player after the 1970 season with Milwaukee
Terry Francona was born in 1959, the first year his dad played in Cleveland. Tito hit .363 that season and finished fifth in the AL MVP voting. He led the AL in doubles the following year, and in 1961 he was an AL All-Star and led the league in singles.
Flooded by messages about his father in the past several days, Francona said he believes he answered every one of them.
“Because people took the time to say something kind, but it was a lot,” he said. “When you play for nine teams and you’re a good guy, you’re going to know a lot of people.”
Francona said the Indians had a family feeling in a professional setting for both he and his father, who was only about 90 minutes away and could come up whenever he wanted to watch his son’s games. The elder Francona threw out a first pitch before Game 1 of the AL Division Series two years ago, as he had before the Indians home opener in 2013, his son’s first season as their manager.
“Just the way he was treated when he would come back, not just for me to get to see him, but the way he was treated,” he said. “My son did kind of a eulogy yesterday, and he mentioned that, that like what a fitting way to kind of wind down your life as being that happy.”
Describing himself as the luckiest kid ever with the best parents, Francona said he knew how fortunate he was growing up like that. His love for baseball definitely came from his dad.
“The majority of whatever I do know, or what I care about, came from him,” Francona said. “I care about the game, I respect the game, I love the game because of my dad, I guarantee you that. He taught me to care about baseball so deeply.”
San Diego area native Joe Musgrove throws first no-hitter in Padres history in win over Texas Rangers
The San Diego Padres are no longer the only major league team without a no-hitter. And for that they can thank local product Joe Musgrove, who twirled his first career no-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field on Friday night.
Musgrove’s outing, which included 10 strikeouts and just one baserunner — on a hit by pitch in the fourth inning — snapped the Padres’ streak of regular-season games without a no-hitter at 8,206.
“It’s awesome to have it be in a Padres uniform,” said Musgrove, who had never thrown a no-hitter at any level. “To have it be the first in the history of the franchise, that’s incredible.”
Musgrove, 28, retired the first 11 Rangers hitters in order, then plunked Joey Gallo and retired the next 16. He began the bottom of the ninth at 103 pitches, a concerning pitch count given the caution managers are expressing with their pitchers coming off a shortened season.
Nine pitches later, though, Musgrove made history.
David Dahl lined out to second baseman Jake Cronenworth, Leody Taveras hit a tapper back to the mound, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa grounded out to Ha-Seong Kim, who is temporarily replacing the injured Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop.
“There was like three different scenarios where I thought I lost it,” Musgrove said.
Musgrove, who grew up in El Cajon, California, roughly 15 miles from San Diego, is in his sixth major league season. He previously pitched for Houston (2016-17) and Pittsburgh (2018-20) and never had thrown a complete game in his previous 84 career starts.
“I’m freaking exhausted, man,” he said. “There was no way I was coming out of that game.”
Padres manager Jayce Tingler let Musgrove go the distance because he was so efficient — and knowing what it would mean to have a hometown player end the franchise’s no-hitter drought in its 53rd season.
“I think in a way that makes it, if it can be any sweeter, any more special for him, to do it growing up in San Diego and this being his team, it’s about the perfect story written,” Tingler said.
Musgrove threw 77 of his 112 pitches for strikes.
It was the first no-hitter in the majors this season and only the second complete game.
San Diego acquired the big 28-year-old Musgrove as part of a seven-player, three-team trade on Jan. 19. He pitched for Pittsburgh last season.
In his debut for San Diego, which came at home last Saturday, he struck out eight in six scoreless innings against Arizona. He had no walks in winning that game, when he threw 57 of 78 pitches for strikes.
It was the fourth time a no-hitter was thrown against the Rangers. The last had been by Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox on April 18, 2007.
According to Baseball-Reference, there had been 307 no-hitters in MLB history before Musgrove and the Padres. That included 293 individual no-hitters and 14 combined no-nos.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Detroit Tigers starter Julio Teheran scratched before start with triceps issue
The team replaced Teheran with left-handed reliever Derek Holland, who made five starts with Pittsburgh last season. Holland had appeared in two games before making the emergency start.
Teheran came to spring training as a non-roster invitee with the Tigers. He beat Cleveland in his debut last week, allowing one run and four hits in five innings.
The 30-year-old Teheran made nine starts for the Los Angeles Angels in the shortened 2020 season. He spent he previous nine seasons with Atlanta.
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