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Francona to miss two games due to death in family

5/13/2008 - Boston Red Sox

BALTIMORE -- Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona left the team and will miss the first two games of his team's series at Baltimore following the death of his mother-in-law.

Mary Ann Lang, mother of Francona's wife, Jacque, died Monday night in Tucson, Ariz. Francona and his family traveled to Tucson on Tuesday.

Bench coach Brad Mills was to run the Red Sox in Francona's absence. Although he has experience in the role -- he was 5-3 as a replacement for Francona in 2005 -- Mills was not looking forward to the assignment.

"It's never nice, and especially in this situation and under these circumstances," Mills said before Tuesday's game. "And I could probably say it's never nice under any circumstances because something has happened. I guess it is a little bit different if there was a graduation or something along those lines."

Mills was a teammate and roommate of Francona's at the University of Arizona. He was also a teammate of Francona's when both played with the Montreal Expos from 1981-83.

Now in his fifth season as Boston's bench coach, Mills planned to rely on the other coaches to help keep "things as normal as possible." He did not expect his new post to alter his relationship with the players.

"This is a veteran ballclub," Mills said. "We're not going to reinvent the game and they know that. I've been around the guys for the same amount of time Terry has, so the dynamics are set."