Terry Francona

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona (https://www.mlb.com/indians photo)

CLEVELAND --The Indians will play an extended period of their season without manager Terry Francona at the helm for a second straight year, according to a story posted on the team website.

The team announced Thursday night Francona take a leave of absence for the remainder of the 2021 season due to health reasons, including a surgery that he’ll need on his left foot for the staph infection he’s been battling since January.

Francona missed nearly the entire shortened 2020 season with stomach problems that later turned into a critical ICU stint because of blood clots. It took him until the last few weeks of the season to be able to sit with Cleveland’s front-office crew in the stands to watch his team, the team website reported.

Francona thought he was fully recovered and was doing his best to get himself into better shape. But in November, he started having pain in his foot that wouldn’t go away. He came back from his home in Arizona to visit the Cleveland Clinic in January to see why the pain was still there. He learned that he had a staph infection, underwent another procedure to remove part of the bone in his big toe and was stuck in the hospital for another 10 days.

Bench coach DeMarlo Hale will take over as acting manager. Last year, first-base and catching coach Sandy Alomar Jr. filled this role due to the fact that the club did not have a bench coach since Brad Mills had opted out of the season to be home with his family.

With Hale here, he’ll slide in as Francona’s replacement, moving third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh to serve as the bench coach and outfield coach Kyle Hudson now coaching third.

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