Kruk to replace Francona in ESPN Sunday booth

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm •  Published: December 3, 2012
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — John Kruk is following Bobby Valentine and Terry Francona into ESPN's Sunday night baseball booth.

Is he going to emulate them and wind up managing a major league team in 2014?

"I think that is why they are putting me in the booth," Kruk said before adding: "Ain't no chance of that happening."

A member of ESPN's studio team since 2004, the three-time All-Star was announced Monday as the new partner of Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser, giving ESPN a different trio for the third straight season after 21 consecutive years with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. Buster Olney remains as the crew's reporter.

Shulman and Hershiser were in the Sunday night booth in 2011 along with Valentine, who left to become manager of the Red Sox and was replaced by Francona, Boston's manager from 2004-11. Francona departed ESPN in October to become Cleveland's manager.

Kruk has been working in the Bristol, Conn., studio about eight days a month and has filled in on game coverage. He expects his studio work to be roughly cut in half next season when he shifts to Sunday nights, ESPN's top baseball event because it has an exclusive window.

He never wanted to be a game analyst.

"I was always uncomfortable when former players came into your clubhouse, and I don't know why I felt that way," Kruk said.

He began to change his mind about game work when he accompanied Valentine on ESPN's bus tour of spring training sites.

"I got more carte blanche at ballparks than some of the other guys," he said Sunday. "I was in the training room, talking to players. Bobby Valentine took me to some parts I wasn't supposed to be in. Wish he'd told me when I had to get out."