Francona returns to dugout after health scare

June 30th, 2023

CHICAGO -- After three days on the sidelines, Guardians manager Terry Francona was back in the dugout for Friday’s game at Wrigley Field.

Francona spent Tuesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City as usual, but just before first pitch, he felt lightheaded and asked to be looked at by the training staff. He informed bench coach DeMarlo Hale that he’d need to fill in as acting manager so that Francona could head to the local hospital and get more tests done.

Francona stayed at the hospital through Wednesday morning for observation. When everything came back as expected and his results were normal, Francona was cleared to go back to the team hotel. He was instructed to rest for a day or two and because he didn’t feel much better, he was able to follow those guidelines. It wasn’t until Friday that he started to feel like his normal self again.

“The last three days, I felt [awful],” Francona said. “I’m going to get some more tests on Monday, when we get back home. But golly man, I just want to say thank you. Those people in Kansas City were off the charts.

“I actually feel OK today. ... The last couple days were really hard. Maybe we will see something in these tests. Maybe not. But I’m just glad I feel better.”

The last few years have been difficult for Francona. In 2020, he went through countless surgeries for stomach problems that had plagued him during the winter, spring and summer.

When he thought he’d be able to come back to the team for the delayed start to the season in July, he ended up having to leave in August to address issues with blood clots that landed him in Cleveland Clinic’s intensive care unit. The next offseason, he learned he had a staph infection in his toe and it caused him to miss the second half of the ‘21 season yet again.

In 2022, he finally had a clean bill of health and was able to enjoy his time back in the dugout for a full season. It wasn’t until Tuesday that he’s mentioned feeling unwell again, but the Guardians are thankful that he’s taking it upon himself to prioritize his health when these scares pop up.

“He was feeling something and knew that something wasn’t right, so he made the decision to talk to the trainers about it and make sure he got tested,” general manager Mike Chernoff said. “We pushed him to do the same thing. All the coaches, who are phenomenal in stepping in like they did, did the same thing. I think we always just have to be super cautious given his history. But we’re thankful everything seems to be OK this time.”