Francona to be on Cora's AL All-Star staff

May 29th, 2019

BOSTON -- When the 2019 MLB All-Star Game is played in Cleveland on July 9, Indians manager Terry Francona will be on the coaching staff for the American League team in a special by-invitation role.

Red Sox skipper Alex Cora, who Francona managed during his tenure in Boston, earned the right to manage the AL team by winning the 2018 World Series. Cora asked Francona to join him, and Francona accepted in a capacity he described as “a hanger-on-er.”

“I’ll try to stay out of the way mostly,” Francona said before Wednesday’s series finale against the Red Sox. “I’m there because I got invited and we’re the home team. His staff deserves to be front and center because of what they did last year. That’s an honor. I’m honored because they asked me. There’s a difference. So I’ll be a little more low-key. I want he and his staff to get the credit they deserve.”

Francona managed the AL squad in the 2005 and 2008 All-Star Games after winning championships with the Red Sox. After the Indians went to the World Series in 2016, he did not manage the AL team in '17 following a heart procedure. This time around, Francona will be able to enjoy the game from a different perspective.

“When you’re managing it, it’s a little hard because you have some -- especially when it was counting -- you had some obligations that made it difficult,” he said. “But Alex invited me this year and I don’t have any obligations, so I will probably really enjoy it because I can sit back and watch and enjoy and not have to have a lineup.”

Francona, who has been managing the Indians since 2013, is looking forward to having the game played at Progressive Field. He recalled the buzz in the city during the Cavaliers’ four consecutive NBA Finals runs, and would like to see the same kind of hype return.

“I’m hoping it’ll be wonderful,” Francona said. “When the NBA Finals were there, it was like Cleveland was like a destination. Everybody was there, movie stars were there, it was like the place to be. I’m kind of hoping that’s what the All-Star Game will be like.

“I didn’t grow up in Cleveland, but I’ve been there long enough to care, and I think it’ll be great. I’m happy for the people downtown that own the restaurants and the bars, the stuff like that, because I think Cleveland will put on a good face for everybody to see because there’s a lot of really hardworking, nice people.”

Plesac earns second opportunity

Zach Plesac made a strong enough impression in his Major League debut on Tuesday to earn another opportunity on Sunday against the White Sox.

The right-hander was poised as he pitched 5 1/3 innings in the Indians’ comeback win over the Red Sox. He struck out two, walked one and allowed four hits and only one run.

“He competes like crazy and he’s got a lot of poise, so there’s a lot to like,” Francona said. “It’s nice if you can win the games that he starts while he’s learning, that’s a really good combination.”

Plesac pitched so well he prompted Red Sox starter David Price to send him a handwritten note after the game to congratulate him on his debut.

“We don’t know what the future holds, the immediate future,” Francona said. “Sometimes those decisions are made because somebody else doesn’t pitch well and you need bullpen help. I think the kid showed he wasn’t afraid to use his fastball and throw it over the plate. They hit some balls hard. They hit a lot of balls hard. But he didn’t shy away from contact.”