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“He was very, very kind” on Thursday, Francona said. “He just came down to say hello, which I appreciate.”

After the first inning, a video tribute on the center field scoreboard showed former Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills, now Francona’s third-base coach, former Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash, now Francona’s bullpen coach, and former Red Sox players Justin Masterson, Mike Aviles and Rich Hill, all with the Indians.

It ended with several scenes of Francona in the dugout and on the field as Boston’s manager, one of them in which he hugged Martinez.

He received a standing ovation and remained in his dugout. He waved his left hand and patted his heart with his right hand.

“I was honored and I was also thrilled that they showed Cashie, Mike Aviles, Matt, Rich Hill and then Millsie standing next to me may be my best friend in life,” Francona said. “So to share that was pretty awesome.”

Francona said he hadn’t spent time thinking how the fans might react.

“These are some of the best fans in the world,” he said. “If you like baseball, this is a good place to be and I got to be a part of that. I feel very fortunate.”

Francona actually managed as a Fenway visitor while with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1997-2000, going 4-4. This season, the Red Sox swept the Indians in a three-game series at Cleveland from April 16-18.

Francona had been back at Fenway several times last year. He returned with ESPN and for the 100th anniversary celebration of the park on April 20.

Among the bigger cheers that day was the chant of “Tito!” that greeted him. He had been angered by a newspaper article revealing details about personal troubles during the 2011 season and said he would not attend but then relented.

“He did a lot to really put Red Sox baseball back on top of the world,” Masterson said. “Everyone here loved him. Everyone on our team loves him. And everyone in Cleveland loves him. He’s just an incredible guy.”

On Thursday, he visited with clubhouse attendants and Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick. He spoke with his good friend John Farrell, who took over as Boston manager after Bobby Valentine was fired following a last-place finish in which the team went 69-93.

Aviles ended up in Cleveland after being traded by Toronto. The Blue Jays had obtained him to allow Boston to hire Farrell, who had been their manager.

“It is a great opportunity to play for Tito again,” Aviles said. “You couldn’t ask for a better manager.”

Francona said he hasn’t changed much since he managed the Red Sox, although the year off refreshed him.

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