So as he was about to get things in order, a most unusual thing occurred. A security agent for Major League Baseball came into the Boston dugout and asked Francona if he was wearing his uniform top underneath his pullover fleece. Francona angrily showed the jersey top to the agent.
"I'm sure he was instructed," said Francona. "The timing was incredible. Unless this guy can put on a bunt play or something, he's got to stay ... out of the dugout. I've never seen anything like this before in my life. In the middle of the game, you have the fashion police. This is incredible. He made me show it. I was sort of in a hurry, because I thought Jeter was going to steal third. I was trying to go do my job."
On Thursday afternoon, MLB spokesman Mike Teevan noted that managers are bound to the same regulations that are in place for players in the collective bargaining agreement.
"Regarding last night, we just wanted to enforce what is stipulated in the uniform regulations that apply to players, managers and coaches," said Teevan. "The regulations state that the jersey has to be worn at all times during a game. We try to enforce the rule across the board, so the issue has not been limited to Terry. The timing was an issue, and it's something we will avoid going forward."
Back in late July, when the Red Sox were in Cleveland, Bob Watson, who is the vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball, told Francona that he needed to start wearing his uniform top.
Because Francona has circulation issues stemming from past health problems, he always wears the pullover. Francona told Watson he would start wearing his uniform top under the pullover.
"I don't want to get too personal. There are times when I get cold," Francona said. "There are times when I don't want to be tucked in. ... I don't want to get into sob stories, but all the stuff I wear underneath, I feel cooped up. I have two pair of tights. I get a little claustrophobic. He's aware of that. He's actually pretty cool about it. I just didn't appreciate the timing. Bob has been pretty good about it."
Prior to Wednesday's game, Watson visited Francona in the dugout. Initially, Watson was disappointed, because he thought Francona wasn't wearing his uniform top. However, Francona dutifully pulled his jersey down under the pullover so Watson could see he was obeying protocol.
"It was nice to talk to Bob in person yesterday, because he looked like he was disappointed with me, and I kind of pulled my top down and it seems to make sense," Francona said. "I don't want to disrespect the game. I didn't think it was a big deal. When he told me it was a big deal, I started putting it on."
Kielty getting better: With left fielder Manny Ramirez out indefinitely with a strained left oblique, the Red Sox are obviously antsy to get reserve outfielder Bobby Kielty back in the mix. Kielty is dealing with back woes.
"Bobby Kielty is going to try to go down to the cage and maybe take some [swings]," said Francona. "[It's] pretty sore, but I think he's relieved that nothing is wrong. I think there's a pretty good chance he'll heal a little quicker just because his mind is at ease that nothing is wrong. I think he was starting to get a little worried."
Kevin Youkilis batted cleanup in place of Ramirez on Thursday while Mike Lowell returned to the five-hole. Eric Hinske again played left field.
Cora in for Lugo: Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang is notoriously tough on righties, which made it unsurprising that Francona inserted the left-handed-hitting Alex Cora at shortstop Thursday in place of Julio Lugo. Cora came into the game hitting .313 lifetime off Wang in 16 at-bats.
Milestone moment for Timlin: With Timlin working 1 1/3 innings on Wednesday, he likely won't pitch Thursday, and therefore would be on track to make milestone appearance No. 1,000 during the upcoming homestand at Fenway Park. Timlin is currently at 999.
He will be the 13th pitcher in Major League history to pitch in 1,000 games. The others?
Jesse Orosco, Mike Stanton, John Franco, Dennis Eckersley, Hoyt Wilhelm, Dan Plesac, Kent Tekulve, Lee Smith, Jose Mesa, Mike Jackson, Roberto Hernandez and Goose Gossage.
Coming up: Tim Wakefield (16-10, 4.16 ERA) can earn sole possession of the American League lead in wins when he opens a three-game series against the Orioles on Friday night at Fenway. The Orioles counter with right-hander Radhames Liz (0-1, 7.50 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.