Terry Francona Hopes to Return as Cleveland Manager After Missing End of 2021 Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVOctober 6, 2021

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 22: Manager Terry Francona #77 of the Cleveland Indians jokes with teammates in the dugout prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field on July 22, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Terry Francona, who missed large parts of the past two seasons for medical reasons, told reporters on Wednesday he's hoping to return as manager next year and a medical appointment next week could be the determining factor. 

"That's a big appointment by the doctor's admission," he said. "We get through that day and things should be OK.

"Barring anything unforeseen, I'd really like to come back and be healthy enough to embrace what the job entails and go through it with people that I enjoy and respect."

Francona, 62, stepped away from the team this season in July to undergo hip replacement surgery. He also had a procedure for a partially removed big toe that had become infected last winter. 

Cleveland went 30-33 with DeMarlo Hale, Francona's bench coach, serving as manager.

"This year was hard," Francona told reporters. “Everything was hard. Whether it was getting to the dugout, or taking a pitcher out. It kind of wore me down. I felt like I wasn’t able to do my job appropriately.”

Under Francona Cleveland has gone 753-601 since he took over in 2013, with five postseason berths and a trip to the World Series. He's 1782-1516 in a managerial career that has also included stops with the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox, the latter where he won two World Series titles. 

But his recent years in Cleveland have unfortunately been marked by health concerns, and Francona is hoping a doctor's blessing and some time off this winter will help get him ready for the 2022 season.

"I think I have time to, and I need the time, to gain some strength and get healthy and be able to enjoy or embrace what it takes to be a manager and doing the things on the field and not feel like I'm shorting the organization," he said.


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