The Terry Francona era is over in Boston.
The manager who led the Red Sox to their first World Series championship in 86 years is out after one of the worst months in club history.
In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona's contract for a ninth year in the wake of the team's September collapse in which they blew a nine-game lead in the AL wild-card race.
Owners John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino acknowledged a change was needed and thanked Francona, who led the franchise to titles in 2004 and 2007. But the statement also mentioned that Francona was ready to head in a different direction.
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"Tito said that after eight years here he was frustrated by his difficulty making an impact with the players, that a different voice was needed, and that it was time for him to move on," the statement said. "After taking time to reflect on Tito's sentiments, we agreed that it was best for the Red Sox not to exercise the option years on his contract."
The news release highlighted a whirlwind day at Fenway Park that saw all of the principal parties shuttle in and out of the facility. Francona was in the building three different times.
Later, Henry was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital to be examined after a minor incident on his yacht, the Red Sox said. WBZ radio reported that he walked off his boat wearing a neck brace.
Boston missed the playoffs despite its nine-game lead with 24 left on Sept. 4. It went 6-18 after that, ending with a 4-3 loss Wednesday night in Baltimore amid reports of conditioning and clubhouse problems. The Red Sox did not win consecutive games all month.
"I didn't feel like the players need to go to dinner together, but they need to be fiercely loyal on the field," Francona said at a news conference after the announcement. "I didn't always get that feeling and it bothered me."
He also said it was his decision to leave, although the owners seemed to want to make a change.
"I'm not sure how much support there was from ownership. I don't know that I feel real comfortable," Francona said.
Around the majors
Angels: Tony Reagins abruptly resigned as general manager on Friday after the big-budget club failed to make the playoffs for the second straight season.
Braves: Shaking things up after a September flop cost them a second straight trip to the playoffs, the Braves fired hitting coach Larry Parrish after only one season. The timing of the announcement was a surprise, coming one day after Manager Fredi Gonzalez said his entire staff would return in 2012. Atlanta finished 13th in the NL in batting (.243).