Terry Francona to talk about use of pain pills on ESPN

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona addresses the issue of pain killers in an interview with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap to discuss his new book—Francona: The Red Sox Years, written with the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy. The full segment airs on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Friday.

In the interview, Schaap asks Francona to respond to Red Sox chairman Tom Werner’s comment in the book where Werner said in a meeting that the team needed to “start winning in a more exciting fashion.”

“I didn’t care if it was exciting or not,” Francona tells Schapp. “In fact it was probably too exciting. ... I have to be consistent. If I’m consistent, I thought we were good enough to win. If I start going up and down like a roller coaster our team’s going to be the same thing and it wouldn’t work.”

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Schaap also probes about the reports of Francona using pain medication and asks how much reliance the former Sox skipper had on them.

“Less in my last year of Boston than it was in my first year,” Francona said. “I had some, I had accumulated some pain pills and that’s not good but I would say.”

When Schaap asks if he was self-medicating, Francona replies: “Yeah, and that’s not good and I understand that.”

Excerpts from his book, which will be released Tuesday, appeared in Sports Illustrated this week and will be published in the Boston Globe on Jan. 27-29. In the memoir, Francona reveals that Red Sox ownership became more focused on the “sexiness” of players to improve NESN television ratings. Francona and former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein were startled by the revelation.

“They told us we didn’t have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle,” Epstein is quoted as saying in the book. “We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We’d become too big. It was the farthest removed from what we set out to be.”