Tim McCarver needs “minor” heart procedure, Terry Francona to fill in for early ALCS games

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UPDATE: Francona’s role will be a big one, as Ben Grossman of Broadcasting and Cable reports that he’ll be partnered with Joe Buck for Game 1 and Game 2 of the ALCS because Tim McCarver is undergoing a “minor” heart procedure.

Quite a first broadcasting gig for Francona. McCarver, who’ll be 70 years in two weeks, is expected back for Game 3 of the ALCS.

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Terry Francona has no shortage of job opportunities. And unlike the offer from the New England Collegiate Baseball League, he’s actually taking this gig.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the former Red Sox manager will serve as a guest analyst on FOX for the remainder of the playoffs.

It’ll be interesting to see if the FOX crew is willing to press Francona about his future as various rumors swirl. If nothing else the national spotlight would give him a chance to further explain his side of the story and presumably there’s less beer drinking on a television set than in the Red Sox’s clubhouse.

The biggest downside for Francona is that he’ll have to interact with A.J. Pierzynski.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.