Indians manager Terry Francona stepped away from the team in July to undergo a hip replacement and left foot surgery, and president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti updated reporters (including MLB.com’s Mandy Bell) on the skipper’s progress today. Francona has now undergone both procedures, and is recovering in Cleveland with plans for him to soon return to his home in Arizona for further convalescence. Most importantly, Francona is “recovering well,” according to Antonetti, and “his mindset is in a much better place than he was a couple of months ago.”
While Francona’s health remains the priority, Antonetti also said that the manager has already begun making some plans for the 2022 team. There wasn’t any question that Francona would be welcomed back for his 10th season in Cleveland’s dugout if he was able, and the prospects of that return are looking a bit brighter now that Francona’s procedures have taken place. “We continue to plan looking at ’22 with Tito as our manager. If at some point that changes, we’re going to have to reconsider and relook at things at that point. But we have no reason to think that will be the case,” Antonetti said.
More from the soon-to-be Guardians….
- Antonetti also provided reporters (including The Athletic’s Zack Meisel) with updates on some injured Cleveland players, including the news that top prospect Nolan Jones will probably undergo ankle surgery. Jones was placed on the minor league injured list at the start of September with a high ankle sprain, and this procedure will help Jones be be fully healthy for the start of Spring Training. Jones has played the entire season at Triple-A Columbus, hitting .238/.356/.431 with 13 home runs over 407 plate appearances. Jones is ranked among the top 100 prospects in the sport by both MLB.com (69th) and Baseball America (75th).
- Shane Bieber’s second rehab start is scheduled for tomorrow, when the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner is expected to throw 55-60 pitches or four innings of work for the Columbus affiliate. Bieber has been out of action for more than two months due to a shoulder strain, though he tentatively appears to be on pace to get back to the Indians roster before the season is over.