Francona rejoins Guardians after having COVID
2: 13 PM ET
CLEVELAND — Guardians manager Terry Francona missed so much time over the past two seasons that even a four-game absence was difficult.
” This was forced retirement,” he stated. It wasn’t very enjoyable. “
Francona and two of his coaches cleared health and safety protocols Wednesday and returned to the team after missing part of the past week after testing positive for COVID-19.
Francona was back for Wednesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds along with bench coach DeMarlo Hale and assistant hitting coach Justin Toole. The trio, who were all positive for coronavirus while the Guardians were in Chicago, returned to Ohio by bus to continue their trip to Minnesota.
Francine’s return to Ohio was delayed by the Reds and Guardians being delayed due to rain. The series finale will be rearranged Thursday with a matinee.
The Guardians have had to deal with two separate outbreaks over the past week, and the recent rash of cases has increased the team’s awareness.
” “Up to this point, I think we feel pretty lucky,” Francona stated. “It was just beginning to work its way through. Everyone is breathing together once it gets into the clubhouse. We live together.
“But it’s not over. You can’t let your guard down. To protect ourselves, we will need to keep our heads indoors. It’s almost too late once it happens. “
First baseman Josh Naylor remains the only Guardians player currently sidelined with the virus. Naylor is on the verge of returning and was seen back in the clubhouse. Francona indicated that he could return to the lineup as soon as Friday, when the Guardians open their three-game series against Detroit.
The 63-year-old Francona, in his 10th season with Cleveland, dealt with some symptoms over the weekend but has felt better the past few days. To deal with serious health issues, he missed the majority of the previous two seasons.
With Francona back, the pitching coach Carl Willis has resumed his regular duties as an acting manager.
Sandy Alomar, Mike Sarbaugh and Mike Sarbaugh are still out of work after being positive for HIV. After missing three games,
Hitting Coach Chris Valaika was back with the Guardians on Tuesday.
The Guardians considered having other minors coaches, but Francona stated that the team decided to shift healthy staff members into other roles to provide continuity for the players.
” “The biggest thing about Carl was that we tried to maintain some sense of normalcy,” Francona said. “When you have seven guys missing, it’s hard. One, Carl talks and the players respect him. We wanted the games to be played as they are supposed to. “
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