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Count Farrell among Francona's admirers

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell couldn't help but smile when he saw that he had a text message waiting from Terry Francona on Monday morning.

With Farrell and the Red Sox getting set to play Francona's Indians on Tuesday night in Cleveland, it's time for the floodgates to open on what is sure to be some good-natured trash talking over the next three days.

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Francona and Farrell have been good friends since 1988, when they were teammates with the Indians. The relationship grew stronger from 2007-10, when Farrell was Francona's pitching coach in Boston.

They celebrated a World Series championship in 2007 and combined to help guide the Red Sox to Game 7 of the '08 American League Championship Series.

"You know, before I came up [to the interview room], I had a text on my phone waiting, so I'm sure that it's some remark that will start three days of some bantering back and forth," Farrell said. "It's always fun, whether it's the conversations before or after the game or what takes place inside it. I know one thing. They've got a very good lineup. They'll be well prepared."

This won't be the first time they've managed against each other. In 2011, Francona was still with the Red Sox and Farrell was Toronto's manager.

But this series will have a more emotional feel, considering it will be the first time Francona has managed against the Red Sox since his parting with the team following the 2011 season. Farrell also has deep roots with the Indians, where he was a farm director for five years before taking the job on Francona's staff in Boston.

What impressed Farrell the most about Francona's managing style?

"His ability to blend the personalities that have come through this clubhouse door over the eight years he was here," Farrell said. "He had such a knack and a way to connect with so many different people and to bring them all to a common point. Players love playing for him. They ran through the wall for him. He just had a way of making every player know or feel that he was behind them, supported them, and if there were any issues, which there were, that it was handled in an appropriate way."

When the stakes were at the highest, Farrell remembers Francona's ability to stay calm in the heat of the moment, such as the late innings of clinching Game 4 of the 2007 World Series.

"In the heat of the moment, when there was a double-switch we were going through, I believe there were some other things going on," Farrell said. "I guess the overriding thing is that in a very important moment there was a calmness about him.

"And his ability to think on his feet was second to none. And I can't give you the exact details that transpired, but it was in a pretty important moment of time and he always gave off the impression that he had everything under control and could very easily handle all the different things that were thrown at him, and come up with the right decision."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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