Francona taking a break from managing

Terry Francona. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Terry Francona. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:20 PM ET

After interviewing for the St. Louis Cardinals job and being mentioned as a candidate to manage the Chicago Cubs, Terry Francona has decided it would be best to take a year off.

"I'm not going to try to manage next year ... for my benefit," he told CSN New England on Wednesday.

After talking with the Cardinals -- who last week hired Mike Matheny instead as manager -- Francona re-evaluated his future.

While he has talked with Cubs boss Theo Epstein, Francona said: "I don't think it's the right opportunity.

"I need to take a step back and re-energize. That's probably in my best interest right now. In fairness to myself, it's the best thing to do."

Francona was let go by the Boston Red Sox last month after eight seasons as manager.

ASTROS CHANGING LEAGUES

In exchange for moving the Astros to the American League in 2013, Jim Crane will get a $70-million discount off his $680-million purchase price, an MLB official told the Houston Chronicle.

Astros owner Drayton McLane will contribute $35 million of the discount, with the remaining $35 million coming from Major League Baseball, the official said.

Crane's purchase of the Astros is expected to be approved Thursday.

MADDON, GIBSON HONOURED

Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays was named Wednesday as the American League manager of the year for the second time while Kirk Gibson of the Arizona Diamondbacks took National League honours.

Both were landslide winners.

Maddon, who also won the award in 2008, was first on 26 of 28 ballots. Maddon's Rays were nine games behind in the wild-card race on Sept. 3 but rallied to make the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.

Jim Leyland, who led the Detroit Tigers to the AL Central title, was second while Ron Washington of the AL West-winning Texas Rangers was third.

Gibson, who steered Arizona to a worst-to-first season in the NL West, was first on 28 ballots and second on the other four.

Ron Roenicke of the Milwaukee Brewers was second while the St. Louis Cardinals' Tony La Russa was third.

Voting was done before the start of the playoffs.

RAMOS READY TO RETURN

Kidnap victim Wilson Ramos was ready to return to the diamond Wednesday for Tigres de Aragua of the Venezuelan winter league.

Ramos, a catcher for the Washington Nationals, was abducted last week in Valencia, Venezuela. As many as 11 people have been arrested in connection with the abduction of Ramos, who was rescued Friday after two days of captivity.

Nats general manager Mike Rizzo said Ramos is physically and emotionally ready to play.

"He is going to play as early as Wednesday -- he is adamant about that," Rizzo told MLB Network. "It's going to be interesting to see him back there. I'm sure he is going to be happy to be back doing what he loves doing."

BRIEFLY

The Texas Rangers are making a push to re-sign free-agent pitcher C.J. Wilson. The Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees also have talked with Wilson's agent ... Red Sox officials Wednesday had a second meeting with managerial candidate Dale Sveum, ESPN Boston reported. Sveum is considered the favourite for the job ... The Minnesota Twins made their contract official Wednesday with veteran infielder Jamey Carroll. Carroll, 37, played in a career-high 146 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, batting .290 with 17 RBI. He signed a two-year deal worth a reported $6.75 million.


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