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