Terry Francona hurt himself running the bases

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When you’re a young person, you can kinda do anything physically. You may not do it well, of course, but you can try almost any given activity and not really worry too much about killing yourself. Go skiing for the first time? Your hamstrings and calfs may scream the next day, but you’re gonna be fine. Take hacks in a batting cage? You might be a little stiff. Play some ultimate frisbee? You may be out of breath quickly, but it’s not like your body is going to explode.

Once you reach a certain age, however, — and the age varies, but it’s someplace north of 35 or so — you get a lot more fragile. Your body really doesn’t want to do unusual things. Sure, if you keep it in shape you can still do active things at a high level — a runner can run with little problem, a biker can bike, a weightlifter can lift — but if you do something which isn’t a usual, trained-for activity, your body tends to balk. For example, I run on a treadmill a lot and it doesn’t bother me much, but if I go lift weights or — heaven forbid — play baseball these days, there are is a non-trivial chance I’m gonna want to die the next day.

A couple of decades ago, Terry Francona was among a small, elite handful of people on the planet who played baseball at its highest levels. Now he’s 55, however, and age remains undefeated. From the Plain Dealer:

Francona served as a baserunner during bunt drills Sunday morning. When he met with reporters later in the day, he was sore.

“I stood out there (at second base) for an hour and I’m hurting,” said Francona, who lost 20 pounds over the winter. “Isn’t that a shame?”

Francona, with two artificial knees, has had surgery of his knees at least 19 times.

“I came up with the bunt plays and I wanted to make sure we ran through them like I wanted,” said Francona. “But I think I’ll let somebody else be the runner from now on.”

There’s a lot to unpack there, but the biggest takeaways are (1) holy crap, 19 knee surgeries?!; and (2) despite the soreness, kudos to Francona for losing 20 pounds and thus being in the BSOHRML (“Best Shape of His Recent Managerial Life”).

Nationals GM Rizzo won’t reveal length of Martinez’s new contract

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WASHINGTON — Dave Martinez spoke Saturday about managing the Washington Nationals for “many, many years” and over the “long term” and “quite some time,” thanks to his contract extension.

Sharing a table to a socially distanced degree with his manager on a video conference call to announce the new deal – each member of the duo sporting a 2019 World Series ring on his right hand – Nationals GM Mike Rizzo referred to the agreement’s “multiyear” nature, but repeatedly refused to reveal anything more specific in response to reporters’ questions.

“We don’t talk about terms as far as years, length and salaries and that type of thing. We’re comfortable with what we have and the consistency that we’re going to have down the road,” said Rizzo, who recently agreed to a three-year extension of his own. “That’s all we want to say about terms, because it’s private information and we don’t want you guys to know about it.”

When Martinez initially was hired by Rizzo in October 2017 – his first managing job at any level – the Nationals’ news release at the time announced that he was given a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year.

That 2021 option had not yet been picked up.

“The partnership that Davey and I have together, our communication styles are very similar. Our aspirations are similar, and kind of our mindset of how to obtain the goals that we want to obtain are similar. I think it’s a good match,” Rizzo said. “We couldn’t have hit on a more positive and enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse. I think you see it shine through even in the most trying times.”

The Nationals entered Saturday – Martinez’s 56th birthday – with a 23-34 record and in last place in the NL East, which Rizzo called “a disappointing season.” The team’s title defense was slowed by injuries and inconsistency during a 60-game season delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg threw just five innings because of a nerve issue in his pitching hand and players such as Starlin Castro, Sean Doolittle, Tanner Rainey, Adam Eaton and Carter Kieboom finished the year on the IL.

“This year, for me, we didn’t get it done. We had a lot of bumps in the road this year. But I really, fully believe, we’ve got the core guys here that we need to win another championship,” Martinez said. “I know Mike, myself, we’re going to spend hours and hours and hours trying to fill the void with guys we think can potentially help us in the future. And we’ll be back on the podium. I’m really confident about that.”

Rizzo was asked Saturday why the team announces contract lengths for players, as is common practice around the major leagues, but wouldn’t do so in this instance for Martinez.

“The reason is we don’t want anybody to know. That’s the reason,” Rizzo said, before asking the reporter: “How much do you make? How many years do you have?”

Moments later, as the back-and-forth continued, Rizzo said: “It’s kind of an individual thing with certain people. I don’t want you to know what I make or how many years I have. Davey doesn’t want you to know. And I think that it’s only fair … when people don’t want certain information out there, that we don’t give it.”

There were some calling for Martinez to lose his job last season when Washington got off to a 19-31 start. But Rizzo stood by his manager, and the team eventually turned things around, going 74-38 the rest of the way to reach the playoffs as an NL wild-card team.

The Nationals then beat the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals to reach the World Series, where they beat the Houston Astros in Game 7.

Washington joined the 1914 Boston Braves as the only teams in major league history to win a World Series after being 12 games below .500 during a season.

“Everything from Day 1 to where he’s gotten to now, he’s grown so much. He’s really become one of my favorite managers of all,” three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer said after helping Washington win Saturday’s opener of a doubleheader against the New York Mets. “Davey really understands how to manage a clubhouse, manage a team. We saw it in the postseason. He knows how to push the right buttons when everything is on the line.”