In­di­ans’ Fran­cona won’t man­age AL

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

CLEVE­LAND — Terry Fran­cona’s heart, of all things, has kept him away from base­ball.

The Cleve­land In­di­ans man­ager, known for his pas­sion and drive, un­der­went a pro­ce­dure Thurs­day to cor­rect an ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat that side­lined him for a few games and will pre­vent him from man­ag­ing in the All-Star Game next week.

Fran­cona, 58, had been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dizzi­ness, fa­tigue and a rapid heart rate for sev­eral weeks. He had a car­diac ab­la­tion at the Cleve­land Clinic, where he con­tin­ued to re­cover af­ter be­ing ad­mit­ted Tues­day.

He is rest­ing com­fort­ably and is ex­pected to be dis­charged in a “day or two,” the In­di­ans said Fri­day. The plan is for him to re­sume man­ag­ing af­ter the All-Star break.

Cleve­land (45-39), the de­fend­ing Amer­i­can League cham­pion, be­gins its un­of­fi­cial sec­ond half of the sea­son July 14 in Oak­land to start a six-game trip.

The In­di­ans went into Fri­day night with a one-game lead over the Kan­sas City Roy­als in the AL Cen­tral. Fran­cona’s con­di­tion had been weigh­ing on the In­di­ans for weeks, even af­fect­ing their play. But now that doc­tors have pin­pointed his prob­lem and he’s been treated, those feel­ings have eased. “Just happy it sounds like he’s got it fig­ured out and taken care of,” All-Star re­liever An­drew Miller said. “That’s what we want, him to be healthy. He’s so gen­er­ous with ev­ery­thing, whether it’s his time or his money or the way he treats peo­ple. Hope­fully, he’s tak­ing care of him­self right now. Selfishly, we want him back. He’s a big part of the mood in the club­house and the way things go.” Fran­cona was twice forced to leave in the mid­dle of games last month af­ter fall­ing ill. He was ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal this week af­ter doc­tors de­tected an ar­rhyth­mia from a mon­i­tor he has been wear­ing for sev­eral weeks. In­di­ans bench coach Brad Mills will fill in for Fran­cona as the man­ager of the AL All-Stars in Mi­ami next week. Mills has been fill­ing in while Fran­cona has been out and will man­age a team fea­tur­ing five In­di­ans play­ers. Mills will be as­sisted by Cleve­land’s staff and Tampa Bay Man­ager Kevin Cash, who pre­vi­ously worked for the In­di­ans. “If T’s not go­ing to be there, I think the staff is ready to kind of step up and all share in those du­ties, and we’re all ex­cited about it,” Mills said. Fran­cona and his staff earned the op­por­tu­nity to lead the All-Star team af­ter guid­ing Cleve­land to the World Se­ries last sea­son, the team’s first since 1997. Fran­cona was forced to leave two games last month when he be­came light­headed. He had tests fol­low­ing both episodes and team Pres­i­dent Chris An­tonetti said this week that doc­tors had ruled out any ma­jor health is­sues. Fran­cona also missed a game in Wash­ing­ton last Au­gust af­ter he ex­pe­ri­enced chest pains. Dur­ing a se­ries last week­end in Detroit, Fran­cona wasn’t feel­ing well again and he was ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal July 4 be­cause of ab­nor­mal heart read­ings. Doc­tors per­formed an ab­la­tion, in which a tube is in­serted into the leg and guided up to the heart. Dam­aged heart tis­sue is then treated with heat, cold or ra­dio en­ergy to help prompt reg­u­lar heart­beats. An­tonetti had been adamant to Fran­cona about putting his health first. He said that Fran­cona can be stub­born and per­haps not the ideal pa­tient. How­ever, af­ter speak­ing with him on Fri­day, An­tonetti said Fran­cona ac­cepted the team’s short-term plans.

AP file photo

Cleve­land In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona has been hos­pi­tal­ized since Tues­day af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dizzi­ness and will not man­age in this Tues­day’s All-Star Game.

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