CLEVELAND -- The Indians had manager Terry Francona enter the bubble with the team last week to give them the option to bring him back to the dugout for the postseason. But after more consideration over the weekend, the Tribe announced Sunday evening, following Cleveland's 8-6 win over Pittsburgh, that Sandy Alomar Jr. will continue as acting manager throughout the playoffs.
“Tito is continuing his recovery but is not yet physically able to manage the team,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “So again, I know I've said this multiple times, but we are incredibly grateful and thankful to have Sandy. He selflessly stepped into the role and has done an extraordinary job leading us this season, and we're looking forward to his leadership throughout the postseason."
Francona first left the team in Minnesota on Aug. 2 with a minor gastrointestinal condition. After a few visits to the Cleveland Clinic, he attempted to return to managing on Aug. 11, but it lasted only through Aug. 16, at which point he returned to his doctors. That week, he had a procedure to have a stent inserted after they found some blood clots. Between his two ailments, the Tribe’s skipper has needed all this time to try to recover.
“I think the uniting factor is that everyone cares so deeply about each other, and all we care about as a group is trying to win,” Antonetti said. “So, any way we can come together to do that, we'll try to make that happen. The collaboration continues between Sandy, the front office, the coaching staff, support staff and Tito. We'll continue that here as we go through the playoffs."
Alomar has often discussed the challenges he’s gone through in his transition to the managerial role, admitting that he’s been far from perfect, but the acting skipper made a pretty impressive effort in unfamiliar territory, going 27-19 at the helm.
“Right now, I'm just like that mariner that is driving that boat with a captain sleeping back there in the background,” Alomar said. “It's OK. We are here to help, and we're glad that we are.”