"He's definitely a player's manager, and he was a player's coach when I was here," Ausmus said Wednesday. "Tito and I always had a lot of fun, whether it was on the bench or in batting practice. I think he understands that a 162-game baseball season can be a little bit stressful, and he does a good job of taking the stress off the players."
Their friendship continued after Ausmus was traded to Houston and Francona got the Phillies' managerial job.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.