Whether it was Theo Epstein who fed the Boston Globe’s Bob Hohler damaging information about Terry Francona’s health and alleged problems with prescription medication is not a topic Tito addressed during a Thursday chat with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, but there’s no doubt ill will remains from the club’s exit burial of the two-time World Series winning manager. From WEEI’s Alex Speier :

Francona said that he was under the impression that, after talking with reporter Bob Hohler the night before the story ran, that he had corrected the record and that there would be no suggestion that he had an issue with pain medications. And so, he was caught off guard when reading the story to see that such suggestions remained.

“When I hung up with Bob, I was under the impression that he understood. I could have gotten him to talk to Dr. Ronin. I was under the impression that wasn’t part of the story. We definitely got our signals crossed,” said Francona. “I would have put up more of a fight [to deny the allegations].

“The people that know me that well knew that what was said in the paper wasn’t true. It was obviously said to hurt me,” he added. “If there was one thing I was probably guilty of, it was protecting everyone in that organization. Everybody. I felt that was part of my responsibility, even to the point where in that last press conference, I said I take responsibility for this. I couldn’t get to the players. I thought, ‘OK, I’m done here. I’ll take responsibility and go away.’ Little did I know I was going to be going away limping because someone cut my legs out from under me.”

Francona said that the issue came up when he interviewed for the Cardinals managerial vacancy in November.

“That probably aggravated me — not from St. Louis, I would have asked me to — but the fact that I had to defend myself aggravated me,” said Francona.