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Francona hired as Cleveland’s manager

– Terry Francona is getting back with one of his baseball families.

Francona, who guided the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles, has been hired as manager of the Cleveland Indians, a team that collapsed in the second half this season after a promising first four months. The sides continued working Saturday night on the length of Francona’s contract.

The 53-year-old will be formally introduced as Cleveland’s 42nd manager during a Monday news conference at Progressive Field.

“I’m really excited,” Francona said on the air as an ESPN analyst, his job for the past season. “People who don’t know me may have thought I was looking for something different.”

The Indians chose Francona over Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as the club’s interim manager for the final six games after Manny Acta was fired on Sept. 27.

Alomar has been offered a spot on Francona’s staff, most likely as bench coach.

Francona has managed for 12 seasons in the majors, compiling a 1,029-915 record. He spent eight seasons with the Red Sox.

“I played for Tito (Francona) and everybody knows his track record is a good one,” said Indians pitcher Justin Masterson, who was with Francona in Boston for 2008-9.


NHRA results

Funny Car title contender Jack Beckman set a national record (3.989 seconds) en route to his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season in the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals in Mohnton, Pa. David Grubnic led the Top Fuel qualifiers, Jason Line topped the Pro Stock field, and Eddie Krawiec led in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the fourth of six events in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.


Big East asking Navy to join early

Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco says he will talk to Navy about the possibility of joining the conference earlier than its scheduled 2015 arrival as a football-only member.


UConn RB arrested

Police say Connecticut sophomore tailback Lyle McCombs has been arrested and accused of yelling, pushing and spitting at his girlfriend during an argument outside a residential hall. Police said the 166-pound McCombs was charged with second-degree breach of peace. The fight occurred just after midnight Friday on campus in Storrs, Conn. Police say the 20-year-old McCombs was released after he posted a $500 bond. The Huskies benched him for the first quarter in their loss to Rutgers. He finished with 32 yards on 12 carries.


Around the links

In Las Vegas, Jonas Blixt birdied six of the last seven holes for a 5-under 66 and a share of the lead with Ryan Moore and Brendon de Jonge in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Moore had a bogey-free 65, and de Jonge birdied four of the last five for a 66 to match Blixt at 19-under 194 in the Fall Series opener. …

In Cary, N.C., Steve Pate and Fred Funk shot 3-under 69 to share the second-round lead at 8 under in the Champions Tour’s SAS Championship. … In St. Andrews, Scotland, Branden Grace shot a 3-under 69 to take a four-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Dunhill Links Championship 69 at Carnoustie.


Around the court

In Beijing, top-seeded Novak Djokovic beat Florian Mayer 6-1, 6-4 to advance to the final of the China Open. The Serb will face France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was leading 6-1, 4-1 when Feliciano Lopez retired with a left wrist injury. In the women’s event, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka beat ninth-seeded Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-2 to set up a final against Maria Sharapova, who earned a 6-4, 6-0 win over seventh-seeded Li Na. …

Milos Raonic ousted top-seeded Andy Murray 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4) to move into the final of the Japan Open in Tokyo. Raonic will meet Kei Nishikori today after he routed unseeded Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 6-2 in just over an hour.