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AL Notebook

On Both Teams, Sox Degrees Of Separation

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Associated Press
Thursday, October 11, 2007

Julio Lugo has one of Manny Ramirez's baseball cards hanging by his locker, only there's something out of place: The slugger is wearing a Cleveland Indians uniform.

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It's Ramirez, all right, the same guy now batting cleanup for Boston. He played his first 6 1/2 years for the Indians before signing with the Red Sox in 2000.

He's not the only one who wore a Cleveland uniform before putting on a hat with the traditional 'B.' Fact is, there's a lot of crossover going into their AL Championship Series matchup starting tomorrow at Fenway Park.

Boston center fielder Coco Crisp made his major league debut for the Indians and played his first 2 1/2 seasons with them. Julian Tavarez spent parts of four seasons in Cleveland. Alex Cora spent half a season there.

Red Sox Manager Terry Francona and pitching coach John Farrell were teammates on the Indians in 1988 and went on to work in the front office.

Trot Nixon played his entire career in the Red Sox organization before signing with Cleveland last offseason.

Francona spent some time in Cleveland himself. After getting fired from his four-year stint as Philadelphia Phillies manager, Francona got a job in 2001 as special assistant to Indians general manager John Hart. There, Francona worked closely with assistant GM Mark Shapiro, who took over the top job when Hart left.

Francona, who played for five teams during a 10-year career, was a second-generation Indian: His father played for Cleveland and had his best year there in 1959, when Terry was born and Tito Francona reached career highs with a .363 average and 20 homers.

Meanwhile, Back in New York . . .

If the Yankees plan to keep calling on Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning, they might want to think carefully about who would be handing him the ball.

Rivera isn't happy that Joe Torre could be out as manager in New York and said the team's decision will be factored into whether he returns.

"I don't feel good about it," Rivera said yesterday, two days after the Yankees' third straight exit in the first round of the playoffs. "I don't see why they're even thinking [about letting Torre go]. I wish he's back, definitely. If you ask me what I would want, I want him back."

Rivera's contract also is expiring and he is eligible to become a free agent. He said whether Torre returns will help determine whether he remains with the Yankees, the only major league club he's pitched for.


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