NEW YORK — Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona says he isn’t worried about his job status.
Boston held a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card race on Sept. 4 before a 4-14 skid left the Red Sox two games in front of the Rays with six to play.
Some have questioned Francona’s job status. He is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, and the Red Sox hold options for 2012 and 2013.
“I guess I better address that a little bit, so I don’t have to address it more,” Francona said before Friday’s game against the New York Yankees.
“I don’t feel any different than I ever have. The organization not only has the right, but it’s their obligation to get the right person, the person they think is the best. If at some point they think it needs to be somebody else — other than that, I think it’s disrespectful for me to spend one waking moment think about my situation. We need to win games, so that’s how I intend to do it.”
Friday night’s game was postponed due to rain and will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader Sunday.
Sunday’s games are games scheduled for 1:05 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The teams are scheduled to play at 4:10 p.m. Saturday.
Francona was hired by the Red Sox for the 2004 season and managed them to their first World Series title since 1918. The Red Sox won another championship in 2007.
After peaking at 31 games over .500 (82-51) in late August, the Red Sox began Friday seven games back of the Yankees, who already have clinched the AL East.
“It doesn’t really matter to me,” Francona said of the job speculation. “I feel like I feel, and I won’t change how I feel regardless of whether it’s a story or not. I have a job to do that I care a lot about. And like I said, if I spent any energy on me, that would be a disservice to the organization, and I don’t plan on doing that.”
Francona said John Lackey will start Sunday’s series finale, following Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield. Lackey is 0-3 with a 9.12 ERA in his past five starts.
Alfredo Aceves will remain in the bullpen.
“The balance for me is can we probably use Aceves maybe five out of the next six days, as opposed to one day where he’s not totally stretched out, and if he pitches good, the guy we’re going to want to get to is Aceves,” Francona said.
But staying in routine also was a factor.
“Trying to be consistent I think is huge,” Francona said. “Now, saying that, you certainly want to learn from what’s gone wrong, or you’re kind of missing the boat.”
NOTES: RHP Clay Buchholz, who hasn’t pitched since June 16 because of a stress fracture in his lower back, threw 40 pitches before the game in a session moved to a batting cage from the bullpen due to rain. He threw 17 pitches with batters not taking swings, then 23 to hitters. “The next thing is probably a game,” Francona said. … OF J.D. Drew (left shoulder) was to hit in a cage and 3B-IB Kevin Youkilis (sports hernia and hip bursitis) to bat off a tee. Drew hasn’t played since July 19, and Youkilis since Sept. 15.