Boston Red Sox owner John Henry denied charges that the team attempted to smear former manager Terry Francona.
Henry called a Boston radio station Friday after he heard the hosts of the show accuse team ownership of leaking information to the media to cast Francona in a negative light.
The Boston Globe, citing team sources, reported that Francona was distracted this season by the breakup of his 30-year marriage and an increasinging reliance on painkillers following knee surgery.
Those were among the reasons cited for Boston's late-season collapse that saw the team blow a nine-game lead and fail to make the playoffs.
Francona and the team decided to part ways after the season when the Red Sox opted not to pick up an option on his contract.
Henry denied that team owners were behind the remarks targeting Francona.