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Francona deals with nerves in return to dugout

April 3, 2013

TORONTO (AP) — From the sleepless nights to the gut-wrenching decisions in the dugout, Terry Francona couldn’t be happier to be back managing again. Even if it doesn’t always sound that way.

“I love doing this,” the new Cleveland manager said before Wednesday’s game at Toronto. “Sometimes it kills you, but I don’t want to do anything else. That’s the best way I can put it.”

Francona said he’s been through the emotional wringer in the past few days after a year away from managing. The Indians beat the Blue Jays 4-1 in Tuesday night’s opener.

“It’s funny, because I’ve been telling everybody I took the year off to get perspective,” he said. “I have no perspective.”

Francona said he slept less than three hours before the opener against the Blue Jays. He acknowledged after the game that he’d been so nervous, he went through three packets of chewing tobacco.

“Last night, when the anthem was over, I was like ‘Whoa,’” Francona said. “What hit me was how much I already like these guys and how much I don’t want to let (general manager Chris Antonetti) down. It hit me and it hit me kind of hard. I got nervous and it didn’t go away.”

After another fitful night of sleep, things were already piling up for Francona.

“I’ve got sores in my mouth running from my cheek to my navel,” he said. “That’s probably too much information. I chewed so much last night that I need to slow down tonight.”

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