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MLB notebook: Francona up for Indians' job

| Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, 8:14 p.m.
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Members of the 2004 World Series Boston Red Sox team, including former manager Terry Francona, are honored during a ceremony prior to the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays on September 25, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Getty Images)

Terry Francona joined Sandy Alomar Jr. as candidates to become manager of the Cleveland Indians.

Alomar prepared for his first game as interim manager Friday, a day after Manny Acta was fired. General manager Chris Antonetti said both were candidates, and others currently employed by teams could become part of the search.

“I'm excited, and I'm honored that they would give me an interview,” Francona said. “I know Sandy Alomar is also a candidate. He's a good friend of mine. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. I will do my homework over the next week.”

Francona, who managed Boston to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, was a special assistant in Cleveland's front office in 2001. He is intrigued by the chance to work with Indians president Mark Shapiro and Antonetti again.

“Chris and Mark are very dear to me and very important to me,” he said. “I know there are challenges, and I look forward to maybe having the chance to work again with people I care about.”

Francona has been an ESPN analyst since leaving the Red Sox after last season. He played briefly in Cleveland in 1988, following father Tito. Terry Francona managed Philadelphia from 1997 to 2000.

Jays' Vizquel apologizes for criticism

Omar Vizquel apologized to his Toronto Blue Jays teammates for telling a newspaper that the club wasn't doing enough to correct repeated mistakes by their players.

The 45-year-old, who is retiring at the end of the season, also told the Toronto Sun on Thursday that the Blue Jays needed better communication between coaches and players. He spoke to his teammates in a 30-minute closed-door meeting Friday.

“We have a young team, and sometimes we just need to talk and communicate a little more with the coaches,” Vizquel said. “It was no intention at all on my part to kind of blame or point fingers at any coaches or the manager.”

Twins cut ties with Nishioka

The Minnesota Twins released Tsuyoshi Nishioka, ending their experiment with the Japanese middle infielder after two seasons.

The move, which the Twins said came at Nishioka's request, wasn't much of a surprise. But the way the 28-year-old went out was unique.

The Twins said Nishioka waived his right to his $3 million salary for the 2013 season and a $250,000 buyout. He spent most of 2012 with Triple-A Rochester, batting .258 with two home runs and 34 RBI.

Around the majors

Cardinals third baseman David Freese missed his fourth straight start with a sprained right ankle but felt good enough to take batting practice. ... Yu Darvish felt no discomfort after throwing in the bullpen for the first time since skipping his previous turn for the Rangers because of neck stiffness.

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