The 61-year-old said Wednesday that an operation for a gastrointestinal problem resulted in blood clots, which prompted more surgeries and a four-day stay in the intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN).
"It was kind of a rough time," Francona said from his home in Arizona. "For a couple weeks there I was not just away from the game, I was away from everything. It was getting a little hairy there."
The manager, heading into his eighth season in Cleveland, said he is working with a physical therapist to manage a hip that needs surgery, as he does not want to be operated on again until he is healthier. He has had both knees replaced in addition to one hip, which is not the one bothering him now.
Francona, who wanted to be with his team during a unique, shortened season—especially as they dealt with internal turmoil when pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac broke safety protocols—managed nine games before he left the team in August, with a foot that was "so swollen" he could not put his shoe on. The two-time World Series champion hopes to recover in time for the 2021 season.
"I want to be able to hold up my end of the bargain," he said. "When you're the manager, there's a lot of people that depend on you, and I felt really guilty because I wasn't there. That was tough on me mentally as well as when you're going through physical stuff."
First base coach Sandy Alomar led Cleveland during the manager's absence.