Red Sox decline to pick up option on Francona

(AP) - The Terry Francona era is over in Boston, as the Red Sox will not pick up the option on his contract.

In a joint statement released on Friday after Red Sox brass metwith the manager, owners John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchinoacknowledged a change was needed, and thanked Francona, who led thefranchise to two world titles.

"Tito said that after eight years here he was frustrated by hisdifficulty making an impact with the players, that a differentvoice was needed, and that it was time for him to move on," thestatement said. "After taking time to reflect on Tito'ssentiments, we agreed that it was best for the Red Sox not toexercise the option years on his contract."

The statements ended a whirlwind day at Fenway Park that saw allof the principle parties shuttle in and out of the facility severaltimes. Francona was in the building three different times.

Boston missed the playoffs despite leading the AL wild-card raceby nine games on Sept. 4. It went 6-18 after that, ending with a4-3 loss Wednesday in Baltimore.

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