Terry Francona

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona will accompany John Farrell on his first chemotherapy treatment

John Tomase
August 17, 2015 - 2:51 pm

On Tuesday morning, Terry Francona won't be John Farrell's former teammate or manager. He'll be his friend. With Farrell facing the start of chemotheraphy at Mass. General, Francona will be there for the man he considers his closest friend in baseball. "We were just talking and I was just asking questions and the normal questions and he mentioned that he was going to start Tuesday," Francona said on Monday afternoon before his Indians faced the Red Sox. "I was like, 'Man, I'€™m right there. I'll meet you there, I'll go with you, whatever.' I may not do anything other than get in the way like normal. But being a friend, the only thing I know how to do is be a friend. Like, probably the rest of us, we all don't know exactly how to handle those things or what to do. But I do know how to be a friend and I care about him a lot, so that's what I'll try to do." Farrell was diagnosed with Stage 1 lymphoma one week ago, and the news hit everyone hard across baseball, but particularly Francona, who played alongside him in 1988, and hired him as his pitching coach nearly 20 years later. Francona struggled to find the words on Monday to describe his feelings for Farrell and his plight. "I don't know, it's not an easy thing to explain," Francona said. "I think, like everybody else, it's a little bit unsettling. I was worried about him because of the hernia and all of a sudden you get the unexpected news of something more serious. It kind of unsettles you a little bit. I do know that if well wishes and lots of people caring, if that has anything to do with the outcome, he's going to be in good shape because there's a lot of people that care about him, myself included." Getting the news left him stunned. "My first reaction was, I knew people were probably wanting to get at him but I wanted to talk to him because in this game, we run into so many good people and have so many friends," Francona said. "But then there's a handful of people who are friends not just through baseball but outside of baseball, and he's certainly one of those for me."