OAKLAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona has put on a uniform countless times over the past few decades. When he did so again on Thursday evening, it did not feel like any other day. After a health scare forced him away from his team for more than a week, it
OAKLAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona has put on a uniform countless times over the past few decades. When he did so again on Thursday evening, it did not feel like any other day. After a health scare forced him away from his team for more than a week, it was a moment that Francona cherished.
"Heck yeah," Francona said during Cleveland's workout at the Coliseum. "I was probably a little more excited than everybody else here. I told the guys -- you text with guys and stuff -- I have a feeling I probably missed them more than they missed me. You can't help but get attached to everybody."
Following a heart procedure on July 6 to address an irregular heartbeat, Francona reunited with his team ahead of the Indians' six-game road trip through Oakland and San Francisco, and will resume managing on Friday. The 58-year-old manager underwent a cardiac ablation procedure after multiple episodes of light-headedness and an elevated heart rate in June.
Francona noted that he will continue to wear a heart-rate monitor during this road trip so doctors can continue to track his progress. He said he had a checkup on Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic, where he underwent the procedure, and the doctors not only cleared him to travel but encouraged it.
During games on June 13 and 26, Francona's condition worsened to the point that he left the dugout early and was taken to the hospital. Sitting in the visitors' dugout on Thursday, Francona said those were not the only times he experienced symptoms.
"I'd get to a point during games where I was going to black out," Francona said. "Some people were telling me it's anxiety. I'm probably the least anxietied person ever, so there were a few games where I would push through. ... Finally, when they realized what was going on, that was helpful."
After the episode on June 26, Francona began wearing a monitor, which includes a button he presses to note when he felt symptoms. On July 4, the manager went to the Cleveland Clinic, where he remained until being released last Friday.
"We're very relieved," said Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations. "Thankfully, he was getting world-class care at the Clinic, and they were able to work through a progression of tests to determine that it didn't appear to be anything major. But, it still causes a lot of anxiety anytime someone's going through what Tito's going through, and you're searching for answers."
Francona said the fact that he swims as part of his regular routine may have helped the situation from being worse.
"It probably saved me, because my heart was so strong," Francona said. "Because, it was beating upwards to 200 a minute, so I think that might've saved me. This didn't happen because of a lifestyle."
While Francona was recovering, his long-time friend and bench coach, Brad Mills, managed the American League All-Star team to a 2-1 victory over the National League on Tuesday in Miami. Francona said the silver lining to his situation was getting to see Mills and Cleveland's coaching staff get time in the spotlight.
"On one hand, it's so hard to miss time," Francona said. "Everybody kept saying, 'How do you feel about missing the All-Star Game?' It wasn't the All-Star Game. It was [being] with the guys. It was our guys. That's icing on the cake during a season. My responsibilities and my affection is here. So, on one hand, it killed me. On the other hand, knowing that Millsy was doing it with [the other coaches], I was so proud."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.