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Sober chicken OK with Francona; Brantley leave for birth of baby

By Sheldon Ocker Published: September 6, 2013

 CLEVELAND:: When his players paraded a chicken onto the field during batting practice Wednesday, it did not remind Francona of his other connection to chickens.

That happened in 2011, when the Red Sox collapsed in September to fall out of the playoffs. Francona became the scapegoat because some players were spending games in the clubhouse eating fried chicken and drinking beer.

“”I hadn’t thought about that,’’ Francona said. “”It (chicken) wasn’t discussed in the clubhouse back then, only after I was unceremoniously (dumped).’’

Of the Tribe’s current association with a chicken, Francona said, “”As long as the chicken isn’t drinking beer, we’re good to go.’’  

Presumably, he chicken has been returned to its home.

Michael Brantley left the team before tonight’s game to be with his wife, Melissa, who was about to give birth to the couple’s first child in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“”Michael is so conscientious,’’ Francona said. “”He had so much anxiety about leaving. I would love to have him hitting fifth tonight, but if he missed the birth of his child – I missed the birth of one of mine and it’s not good.

“”I would hate to be responsible for someone doing that, so he’s on his way.’’

Brantley was still in the clubhouse at 4 p.m.

“”I think he was struggling whether to go or not,’’ Francona said. “”Once I got wind of it, there was no decision.’’

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