CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona will miss at least the club’s next two games because of a gastrointestinal issue that has bothered him for months.
Francona was scheduled to be checked Monday by doctors at the Cleveland Clinic. He’ll remain in Cleveland during the Indians’ two-game series in Cincinnati. Team President Chris Antonetti said the team will “take it one step at a time” and that it’s too early to know when the 61-year-old manager will return.
The Indians return home Wednesday for two more games with the Reds before a three-game trip to Chicago to face the White Sox.
Francona, who is in his eighth season with Cleveland, didn’t feel well before the team’s game Sunday at Minnesota. After doing his pregame media availability, he left the ballpark and returned to the team’s hotel as the Indians completed their first road trip of this condensed 2020 season and a four-game series with the Twins.
The Indians said he was suffering from the same issue that caused him to miss a couple of spring training games in Arizona in March. The team said Francona’s ailment is not COVID-19-related.
Antonetti said he urged Francona to get checked.
“It’s concerning from the fact that it makes Tito really uncomfortable, so it’s just something we want to try and navigate and help him feel better,” he said on a Zoom call from Cincinnati. “That’s what we’re trying to focus on. As you can imagine, Tito loves being around his team and has high pain tolerance, but the continual discomfort is just something we wanted to get checked out.
“I did have to nudge him and push him toward that end to make sure he prioritized getting it checked out and not just continue to try and tough through it.”
First-base coach Sandy Alomar is filling in as Cleveland’s manager while Francona is sidelined. The Indians are also missing bench coach Brad Mills, who chose not to participate in the shortened season to be with his family.
Antonetti said everyone is pitching in to pick up the slack without Francona and Mills. In fact, Antonetti helped with some cluhbouse duties over the weekend in Minnesota.
“We’ve got a great group,” he said. “We’re at out best when we’re relying on each other. We can all lean on each other, not to fill their shoes but to fill their roles and responsibilities. We’ll all be here to pitch in to do what we can to help support each other.”
Francona, who won two World Series titles with Boston, has been kept away by previous medical conditions. He was also out for one game last season after undergoing eye surgery, and he missed a week in 2017 following a procedure to address an irregular heartbeat.
Before opening day last season, the Indians signed Francona to a contract extension through the 2022 season.