Guardians manager Terry Francona plans to return in 2023

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CLEVELAND – Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona has agreed to return for an 11th season after leading the majors’ youngest team to a division title and the AL Division Series in 2022.

The 63-year-old Francona has not signed a contract, but said Friday he intends to be back next season. He’s dealt with health problems the past two years and will have another operation next week.

Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations, said Francona is welcome to manage the Guardians “for as long as it makes sense on his end.”

Francona said his young squad energized him this season. The Guardians went 92-70 and won the AL Central. They swept Tampa Bay in the wild-card round before losing the division series to the New York Yankees in five games.

A two-time World Series winner with Boston, Francona has led Cleveland to four division titles and six playoff appearances.

Max Fried loses to Braves in salary arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried lost to the Atlanta Braves in salary arbitration and will make $13.5 million in the upcoming season instead of his $15 million request.

Mark Burstein, Fredric Horowitz and Jeanne Vonhof issued their decision a day after hearing arguments.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year in arbitration instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal.

He followed former Atlanta teammate Dansby Swanson in going to a hearing in consecutive years. Swanson, a shortstop, lost in 2021 and won last year, then signed a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

The last player to win hearings in consecutive years was pitcher Trevor Bauer against Cleveland in 2018 and 2019.

Fried, a 29-year-old left-hander, went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2021, Fried pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.