CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians manager Terry Francona is resting at home following a heart procedure and four-day hospital stay.
Francona was released from the Cleveland Clinic on Friday night, one day after undergoing a cardiac ablation for an irregular heartbeat. Francona returned to his downtown residence during the Indians’ 11-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.
The 58-year-old Francona had been experiencing dizziness and an accelerated heart rate over the last month. Following an array of tests, he was admitted to the hospital Tuesday after doctors detected abnormal readings from a heart monitor he had been wearing for several weeks.
Doctors hope Francona’s noninvasive surgery will correct the arrhythmia, which left untreated could lead to blood clots, heart failure or stroke. They want him to his ease his normal routine, so Francona will skip Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Miami.
Bench coach Brad Mills, who has been filling in for Francona, will manage the AL team with an assist from the Indians’ other coaches and Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash, who worked on Francona’s staff in Cleveland and is a close friend.
Francona and Mills have known each other since their college days at Arizona. They were teammates with the Montreal Expos, and Mills was also on Francona’s staff in Boston. The two have exchanged phone calls and text messages during the week, continuing their usual friendly banter.
“I’m looking forward to him coming back,” Mills said with a laugh. “That’s one of the things I told him. I said, ‘Hurry up. This playing sick is enough now.’ Obviously, I’m messing around with him. It’s hard to talk to him without doing that.”
Mills knows Francona is paying close attention to the team while he’s been out.
“I’m sure there’s a few shoes thrown at the TV, but at the same time there’s been a lot things he’s happy about too,” Mills said.
Mills joked that Francona will take credit for the win if the American League comes out on top Tuesday.
“He’ll utilize that and that’s fine, it’s not an issue,” Mills said.
Francona is expected to rejoin the Indians and assume his usual duties July 14 when the team opens a three-game series in Oakland.
The AL champion Indians, who have had puzzling streaks of inconsistency this season, went 2-2 while Francona was hospitalized. There was relief among the players when they learned Francona’s medical issue had been identified and treated.
“He’s our leader,” All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley said. “The energy level, he keeps guys loose in the dugout. He’s a player’s manager, so we’re going to love to have him back. He’ll be back soon and we’ll have him back with open arms.”
Francona is in his fifth season with Cleveland, and he has become a beloved figure in the city.
During Friday’s game, fans lined up inside Progressive Field to sign large get-well cards. Many of the wishes were addressed to “Tito,” Francona’s nickname and his father’s name.
Francona guided the Indians to their first World Series appearance since 1997 last season. Before coming to Cleveland, Francona spent eight seasons in Boston and led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
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