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Boston’s Francona home from hospital

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

BOSTON – Red Sox manager Terry Francona was released from a hospital yesterday, two days after experiencing chest pains that doctors said were likely caused by a virus.

The former Arizona Wildcat complained of tightness in his chest and was hospitalized in New York on Wednesday before the Red Sox played the Yankees. He later was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for more testing.

Team physician Dr. Thomas Gill said yesterday that tests showed no evidence of a serious heart problem and that Francona’s chest pains probably were caused by “a recent viral illness.”

“He will be monitored over the weekend by the Red Sox medical staff, and should be ready to return to the bench on Monday for the team’s home opener,” Gill said in a statement. “He is in good spirits, and is extremely eager to return to the team.”

The Red Sox are scheduled to receive their World Series rings at Monday’s home opener against the Yankees. Bench coach Brad Mills, a teammate of Francona’s at UA, will continue to serve as interim manager for this weekend’s three-game series in Toronto.

“As much as I want to return to my responsibilities, the medical people have made it clear I should wait a couple of days,” Francona said in a statement. “In the meantime, I’ll be watching the games on TV, second-guessing Millsie and counting the hours until I can return to the dugout and get back to work.”

Mills said Francona was eager to get back.

“He was very much relieved that the blockage is not what they had feared,” Mills said. “He’s very happy and relieved, as are the players and the organization.”

Clemens wins No. 329

HOUSTON – Roger Clemens started the season with a win, more strikeouts and some more RBIs, too.

Putting off retirement for another year, the Rocket allowed one run in seven innings and hit a tiebreaking, two-run single. With the Houston Astros’ 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds last night, Clemens tied Steve Carlton for ninth place with his 329th win.

“You’re watching a legend … that’s all there is to it,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “He never ceases to amaze me. You just know when he’s up there that he’s going to do it. You feel it in your bones.”

Clemens (1-0) got his 22nd season off to a rousing start, walking none and striking out nine, raising his career total to 4,326.

The 42-year-old right-hander, who had planned to retire after the 2003 season and again last winter, retired the first 11 batters. Sean Casey broke the streak with a two-out liner to shallow center in the fourth.

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