CLEVELAND -- There is nothing like a day at the ballpark for Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, especially after the week the veteran bench boss has had from a personal standpoint.
Francona experienced a medical issue during Monday’s 15-9 win over the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field, and was taken to Cleveland Clinic for a variety of tests and evaluation throughout the night and into Tuesday morning.
After initial tests ruled out anything serious, Francona returned to Progressive Field Wednesday night, and led the Indians to a 5-3 win over the Rangers.
“I don’t care what your vantage point is; if it’s on TV or here, I always want us to win,” Francona said. “We show up at whatever, 10:30, 11 o’clock, the idea is to win. I don’t care if you feel good or bad or in-between. It’s why we’re here.”
Francona was allowed to return to his post as manager, but did so with a monitor that has a button in which he pushes when having a bout of lightheadedness so that doctors can find out the source of the issues that forced him out of Monday’s game.
Earlier this month, Francona missed a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers because of a medical issue.
“I’ve been tested like crazy, and they ruled out some really serious things, which makes you feel better,” Francona said. “I’ve had some bouts of getting lightheaded to the point of where I feel like the lights are going to go out, which is not a good feeling.
“I’ve got a monitor on that they’re going to keep an eye on me and just kind of keep track of it. There’s no common denominator of when it happens. The one good thing is there’s so many good medical people that care about really doing a good job, so that’s a good feeling.
“For all of you that bet on the under, you’re going to lose because I’m not going to die. It’s just irritating.”
What was refreshing for Francona during his latest health issue was the joy the Indians’ come-from-behind victory from a 9-3 deficit brought to the workers at Cleveland Clinic.
“All of a sudden, things took a turn for the good,” said Francona, a two-time American League Manager of the Year winner with the Indians. “You can kind of take that a few different ways. One of our doctors drove me to the hospital, so he had it on his phone. It was like 9-3. We parked, 9-4. Got in, it was like 9-5. They’re setting me up in there, and Lonnie got a base hit.
“It was like 10-9, but we couldn’t get it on the TV, but really, you could hear the nurses yelling. It was really cool. I had it on my phone. You could hear people that I couldn’t see reacting, which I thought was really cool. That gave me a huge lift. Just hearing people react to the game of baseball, and our baseball, it made me feel good.”
Additionally, when Francona was removed from the game because of the health issue, he found solace in the fact that the Indians were in the confident hands of his bench coach, Brad Mills, who served as the interim manager in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Rangers.
“Over the years, I think I’ve learned more from Millsie about baseball than he’s learned from me,” Francona said. “I’ll always feel that way. He may do some things different if he were a manager. That’s just probably common sense, but he does things how I want to do it because he knows that’s how it’s supposed to be.”
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