Francona: Showalter ‘out of line’

Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona admitted Sunday he was "aggravated" when he read an article quoting Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter taking a shot at Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, reported.

Francona said he initially dismissed Showalter’s comments, in which he questioned Epstein’s ability to achieve similar success with a smaller payroll. It was after Francona had a chance to read the article, that he took offense to Showalter’s jab.

"[I] just thought that was a little bit out of line — I don’t think he’d be appreciating if I said something about Andy [MacPhail, Orioles president of baseball operations], which I wouldn’t," Francona said. "None of my business. And for the record, I think Andy’s really good.

"I don’t think that’s anybody’s place," Francona added. "That’s my boss. I was actually kind of aggravated a little bit. It’s not the end of the world, but I thought he shouldn’t have done it."

Showalter made headlines after slighting American League East rivals Epstein and Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter in an interview for the April issue of Men’s Journal.

The two-time AL Manager of the Year went after Jeter first, saying the 11-time All-Star is "always jumping back from balls just off the plate. I know how many calls that team gets — and yes, he [ticks] me off."

The former Yankees skipper then turned his attention to Epstein saying, "I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay [Rays] payroll. You got Carl Crawford ’cause you paid more than anyone else, and that’s what makes you smarter? That’s why I like whipping their butt. It’s great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, ‘How the hell are they beating us?’"

The Yankees’ payroll in 2010 was $206 million, while the Red Sox’s was $162 million. The Orioles ranked 17th out of 30 teams at $81 million.

Showalter later downplayed his attacks telling The Baltimore Sun on Thursday that they were probably born out of "envy or something."

He also said his memory of the comments was hazy.

Showalter, who took over the Orioles in the middle of last season, served as the Yankees’ manager from 1992 to 1995 before being fired by former owner George Steinbrenner.