Francona, of course, managed the Red Sox from 2004-11. Under his leadership, Boston won the World Series twice, in '04 and '07. In eight seasons, Francona posted a 744-552 managerial record.
The Indians will begin a four-game series in Boston on Thursday. Francona's role as an ESPN analyst brought him back to Fenway Park in the year following his tumultuous departure from the Red Sox, but he admitted he doesn't know what to expect when he steps out onto the field in a visitor's uniform.
"I'm sure I'll have a lot of emotions," he said, "This game is tough enough to play and I don't want our guys having extra baggage during that series. I need to be very cognizant of that, that whatever feelings I'm having, I'll deal with them. Like I said, it's hard enough to play this game."
Francona said his year away from managing was healthy. His return to Fenway will be difficult to bear only "if we lose."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.