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Francona spent eight seasons with the Red Sox but was not brought back after the club fell apart down the stretch in 2011. This season, Francona worked as a TV broadcaster and said it was while preparing for telecasts that he realized how much he missed managing and being around players.

“We appreciate Terry’s great contributions to our baseball coverage and we wish him the best,”? ESPN said in a statement, adding Francona will appear as a guest analyst during the network’s World Series coverage.

Francona has managed for 12 seasons in the majors, compiling a 1,029-915 record.

“I played for Tito (Francona) and everybody knows his track record is a good one,” said Indians pitcher Justin Masterson, who was with Francona in Boston for 2008-9.

Antonetti said part of Francona’s appeal was how he developed young players like Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester as they came up through Boston’s system.

“In addition to that, he’s a great communicator and an accomplished leader,” Antonetti said.