KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona has been advised by doctors to stay away from the ballpark and rest for a few days after he was hospitalized following an episode of lightheadedness before a game.
Francona, who has had significant health issues in recent years, spent Tuesday night at The University of Kansas Health System and was released Wednesday. The team said tests on the 64-year-old Francona all “came back within normal ranges.”
Francona began feeling ill Tuesday shortly before the series opener against the Royals. He was checked by medical personnel at Kauffman Stadium before being transported to the hospital. The team said his status will be determined daily.
“He’s doing a whole lot better,” said general manager Mike Chernoff, who flew to Kansas City following Francona’s episode. “He got a ton of tests last night and this morning, and everything checked out normally. So, we’re very happy to hear that.
“He’s now resting at the hotel. He’s chomping at the bit to get back. But, he’s doing OK. Also, just a huge thank to Royals medical staff and the KU hospital team that was helping him. They were just tremendous.”
Guardians bench coach DeMarlo Hale will again handle managerial duties in Francona’s absence. Hale served as Cleveland’s acting manager for the final 63 games in 2021 when Francona had to step away.
The Guardians, who rallied to win Tuesday’s game 2-1 after Francona fell ill, are on a six-game trip. After facing the Royals again Thursday, they’ll open a three-game series in Chicago against the Cubs before returning home for their final homestand before the All-Star break.
Francona is in his 11th season with Cleveland. Although his contract expired after last season, he has an agreement with the Guardians to stay in place as long as he wants.
Francona has dealt with some major health issues the past three years.
He only managed 14 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season due to gastrointestinal problems, and he stepped away from the Guardians for the second half in 2021 to have his hip replaced and address a staph infection in his toe.
In 2017, Francona underwent a heart procedure during the All-Star break and didn’t manage the American League squad.
Francona had been feeling good this season, and true to form has often poked fun at his sometimes frail state with his customary self-deprecating humor.
Because of Francona’ s expansive medical history, Chernoff said any issues raise concern and nerves.
“Of course we all feel that way with what he’s been through,” he said. “The good news is, he was thoughtful about it. He’s feeling something and knew something wasn’t right. He made the decision to talk to our trainers about it, make sure he got tested, and we pushed him to do the same thing.
“And all the coaches, who were phenomenal at stepping in like they did, did the same thing. I think you always have to be super cautious given his history. But, again, we’re thankful that everything seems to be OK this time.”
Before taking over as Cleveland’s manager in 2013, Francona spent eight seasons with the Boston Red Sox. He helped end the team’s 86-year World Series drought with a title in 2004 and won a second championship in 2007.
Francona played 10 seasons in the majors, breaking in with Montreal in 1981. He was also with the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland and Milwaukee.
Francona’s late father, Tito, was also a major leaguer.