BOSTON - Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said Friday "there are no immediate plans for an announcement" on the status of Terry Francona, though several reports have indicated the team will part ways with its manager.
Francona met Friday morning with Red Sox ownership and Epstein, but the parties left Fenway Park without announcing a decision.
Earlier, FOX Sports reported that it was expected the meeting would result in Francona's departure, just days after his team missed the playoffs in a historic September swoon.
Epstein said the meeting was held to "exchange thoughts and information on the 2011 season and discuss areas for improvement." He added, "We all plan on taking some time to process the thoughts expressed in the meeting."
Before the sit-down, SI.com and the Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox would decline the options on Francona's contract for 2012 and 2013. According to the Globe, Francona's expected departure would be announced as mutual.
Francona, 52, led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 -- the franchise's first two championships since 1918 -- and took the team to the playoffs five times.
The season came to an end Wednesday night with a devastating 4-3 loss at Baltimore after the Red Sox were just one out away from at least securing a spot in a one-game tiebreaker against Tampa Bay for the AL wild card.
The Red Sox squandered a nine-game lead in the wild card race, the biggest ever held by a team in September that failed to make the playoffs.
It was the second straight year the Red Sox's season ended before October.
On Thursday, Epstein appeared to suggest Francona would return, refusing to place blame on the skipper for the team's shocking collapse.
"I know we don't believe in scapegoats, and in particular no one blames [Francona] for what happened in September," Epstein said with the Red Sox manager sitting by his side. "We all failed collectively."
But despite Epstein's apparent public support, owner John Henry and team president Larry Lucchino have remained silent on Francona's future, and when asked Thursday whether he wanted to return next season Francona declined to make a definitive statement.
"Theo and I talked today a little bit. I think we'll continue to talk tomorrow. Maybe it's best today to stay with where we're at," Francona said. "It's still pretty fresh and pretty raw. It's a fair question."
Francona has amassed 744 wins as Red Sox skipper, placing him second on the team's all-time list behind Joe Cronin. Francona, who also managed the Phillies from 1997 to 2000, has a career record of 1,029-915.
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