Is Terry Francona OK? Cleveland Indians manager cites health issues as he leaves mid-season
'I’m just not able right now to physically do what I think how it needs to be done appropriately,' Francona said about managing the team beyond 2021
Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has decided to step away from the club for the current season citing health issues. The 62-year-old recently climbed on to second place on the all-time managerial wins list for the Indians. He had a tally of 723 wins for the team, surpassing Mike Hargrove at 721. The news was confirmed by Cleveland's president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti.
Speaking about managing Cleveland Indians beyond 2021, Francona said, "I want to love my job. I’m not talking about a loss or a win. I’m talking about the challenges that come with the job. I’m just not able right now to physically do what I think how it needs to be done appropriately.” He further emphasized that he has not lost any love for the team or his love for the game. As per the latest reports, Francona will be replaced at the moment by bench coach DeMarlo Hale.
Is Terry Francona OK?
Francona had been experiencing pain in his hip and foot, which he felt was hindering his job. While everyone in the team was aware of his struggle, they were also surprised at how well Francona managed to last so long in the present season. "I was having a really hard internal struggle on what to do. The other day (Antonetti) and I sat and talked for quite a while and that’s probably what kind of saved me there, his friendship. And (Mike Chernoff) also came down. That really helped me a ton. I needed it, and they were there for me,” Francona opened up about his struggle in a virtual press meet.
He is slated to undergo left hip replacement surgery at the Cleveland Clinic on Monday, August 2. He will also need another surgical procedure to insert a rod in his left foot, which will be performed five to six weeks after the hip replacement surgery. Francona had had a right hip replacement surgery in 2016, during his team's World Series run. In 2017, he further underwent a cardiac ablation procedure at Cleveland Clinic. In January 2021, he had undergone surgery on his left big toe for a staph infection. Ever since then, he had been using a walking boot to get around which has made it a tad difficult for him to coach.
At present, Francona is not certain whether he would be able to manage Cleveland Indians after 2021. Meanwhile, Antonetti hailed Francona's zeal and determination to continue the work for so long despite his medical issues. "It’s a testament to how much he cares about the team and how much he cares about the organization. He’s persevered and battled through significant pain in a number of different areas,” Antonetti said about Francona.
Francona had managed only 14 games in the previous season, which was shortened by the pandemic. He faced significant difficulty with blood clots and related medical ailments. At that time first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr took over as the acting manager in his place. Francona returned to the dugout this season and has managed to be present in all but four games.
In Francona's absence, third base coach Mike Sarbaugh will take DeMarco Hale's place in the dugout as the bench coach, while major league assistant Kyle Hudson will take Sarbaugh's place.