Terry Francona is getting back with one of his baseball families.
Francona, who guided the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles, has been hired as manager of the Cleveland Indians, a team that collapsed in the second half this season after a promising first four months. The sides continued working Saturday night on the length of Francona's contract.
The 53-year-old will be formally introduced as Cleveland's 42nd manager during a Monday news conference at Progressive Field.
"I'm really excited," Francona said on the air as an ESPN analyst, his job for the past season. "People who don't know me may have thought I was looking for something different."
The Indians chose Francona over Sandy Alomar Jr., the club's interim manager for the final six games after Manny Acta was fired Sept. 27. Francona and Alomar, who spent the past three seasons as a coach in Cleveland, were the only candidates to interview for the Indians' opening.
Alomar has been offered a spot on Francona's staff, most likely as bench coach.
Francona worked in Cleveland's front office as an adviser in 2001. He also spent a portion of the 1988 season on Cleveland's major league roster, and his father, Tito, played with the Indians from 1959-64.
"It's a good story, almost a family feeling," Francona said after his interview Friday. "I don't think you can take a job because of that, but it still means a lot to me."
The Indians were within 31/2 games of first place July 27 but went 5-24 in August -- the worst month in the franchise's 112-year history.
Nationals vs. Cardinals: Adam Wainwright was a spectator last fall, cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals from the bench as they rose from wild card to World Series champions.
It's a lot more fun being part of the action.
"This game I get to play is very special to me, and missing that time last year, I really learned how much I love the game," Wainwright said.
Fans in Washington, D.C., anticipating the first baseball postseason appearance for the nation's capital since 1933, have to feel that way, too.
Wainwright, a 14-game winner in his first year back from elbow reconstruction surgery, successfully fought against restricting his innings and starts Sunday in the N.L. division series opener. The Nationals, who led the league with 97 wins, will go with 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez after sitting down Stephen Strasburg in early September with 1591/3 innings pitched.
"There's so many things that factor into this that you take it with a smile," Gonzalez said. "It's the first time ever experiencing this, to represent such a great organization, such a great rotation, great lineup. It's unbelievable."
Yankees vs. Orioles: Sixteen years after the Yankees ousted the Orioles from the playoffs and advanced to the World Series, the teams resume their rivalry Sunday night in Game 1 of the A.L. Division Series. It will be Baltimore's first home postseason game since 1997.
The Orioles spent much of the season chasing New York in the A.L. East, and now they have an opportunity to get the better of the Yankees in a far more significant scenario. After New York swept a three-game set in Baltimore in April, the Orioles rebounded to forge a split of the 18-game season series.
"We've played those guys a lot this year. We know what they've got, they know what we've got," Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds said. "It'll come down to a big pitch or a big at-bat."