CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Indians Manager Terry Francona underwent a cardiac ablation procedure Thursday afternoon at the Cleveland Clinic to correct an irregular heartbeat, the team announced Friday. The arrhythmia was detected during monitoring of Francona’s heart activity over the past few weeks.
Francona is expected to make a full recovery and return to the team on July 14th, and will thus not manage in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. He is expected to be discharged in “a day or two,” the release said.
“The Cleveland Indians Organization would like to express sincere gratitude to the entire staff of professionals at the Cleveland Clinic for their care and treatment of Terry,” the team said.
Indians Bench Coach Brad Mills will continue to manage the team in the interim, and will manage the AL All-Star Team with the help of former Tribe Bullpen Coach and current Rays Manager Kevin Cash.
Team President Chris Antonetti said he visited with Francona at the Clinic on Friday morning, and that the manager is feeling ‘really good,’ and that all parties are satisfied with the fact that the questions of the actual ailment have been figured out.
“It couldn’t be really better news in the fact that the issue was corrected with a relatively minor procedure and there was clarity around what it was, and now that is has been corrected, it’s a great relief for everyone as well,” Antonetti said.
The plan now is for Francona to join the team for their voluntary workout in Oakland on Thursday July 13th, prior to their west coast swing against the Athletics and San Francisco Giants.
Antonetti added that it took some work to get Francona to get fully on board with the approach, but that by the end, all sides agreed that rest was best for the long term approach for the Indians.
“I think as we walked through that it made sense for him to get a few days, get out of the hospital and recover,” Antonetti said. “Not go to Miami. Not be on late flights and have all the obligations that go around the All-Star game because that way when he’s managing Friday, he’s in a really good spot.”
Mills said the team misses what their manager brings to the park on a daily basis, and that things are not the same when Francona is gone.
“They love how he’s around every day,” the Bench Coach said. “The one thing that T has always done, is empowers his coaches to do their jobs in the dugout, in the clubhouse, on the field pregame, on the field during the game. Those types of things. And because he has done that so well in the past, I think it has really kind of helped being able to continue to do that as we move forward.”
All-Star reliever Andrew Miller said the team had orders to let Francona rest, which he followed, but that some players felt compelled to text their skipper while in the hospital.
“I think that the best interests, as much as we want to tell him that we’re thinking about him and worried about him, with all the stuff he had going on and everything, I think that trying to keep our distance and let him figure it out was the important thing,” Miller said. “It was kind of tough, especially with guys that are really, really close to him.”