Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona is back with the team after missing the last eight games due to a "gastrointestinal condition," that the manager says has been bothering him for nearly an entire year.
The Tribe manager returned to Progressive Field Tuesday, and explained what has been going on with his ongoing health issues that have landed him in the Cleveland Clinic about a half a dozen times in the last six months.
“Ever since the very first spring training back in Goodyear when that ended I’ve been in and out of the hospital probably 5 or 6 times having procedures done," Francona told the media Tuesday afternoon.
"The muscle that helps you go to the bathroom has been in spasm, it’s been that way for probably the last 11 months."
You could see that Francona was a little more low key than usual, but he was still able to have some fun in the daily briefing and crack a few jokes about his condition.
“It’s uncomfortable, and anybody that knows me well knows that those are some of the best parts of my day, so it’s not been real fun," Francona said.
The manager returns to the team with a bit of a dark cloud hanging over the franchises head after the club put two of its starting pitchers, Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger, on the "restricted list" Tuesday.
Both pitchers violated team rules over the weekend in Chicago. The pair left the team hotel Saturday evening and went out with a group of friends.
Normally not a big deal for a player to do that, but as we all know nothing has been normal about the 2020 season.
Plesac was sent home via vehicle on Sunday, and Clevinger flew home with the team after the Indians 5-4 win in 10 innings Sunday evening.
It didn't come out till early Monday that Clevinger was with Plesac when he broke team rules by leaving the club's hotel and going out with Plesac and a group of people Saturday night.
Francona never is one to throw any player under the bus when something goes wrong, but admitted on Tuesday after all the conversations and meetings about team rules that the situation that Plesac and Clevinger put the club in is difficult to swallow.
“I still think as a group our guys have done an extremely good job and have been very consensus, this one kind of hurts," Francona said.
"We talked about it a little bit as a team even today, and we’ll deal with it like we always do, we care about each other, doesn’t mean you don’t get disappointed with each other or even mad at each other at times.
"But what I care about is making it better, not being vindictive, just trying to figure out ‘Ok how do I make this better so it doesn’t happen again?’ The players still have a lot to say about this, they’ve kind of taken ownership of what we’re doing which is really important.”
Francona said it was the Indians decision, not that of Major League Baseball, to keep both Plesac and Clevinger away from the ballpark for the next couple of days as well as get tested for the covid-19 virus.
"The league didn't mandate that," Francona said. "We felt it was appropriate to do that, just for everybody's benefit."
The Tribe manager said he has had conversations with both Plesac and Clevinger about the incident and why it means so much to have the guidelines in place.
It sounds like one of the two pitchers wasn't quite as understanding as the other about the matter.
“I think they are probably in different stages of understanding," Francona said.
For now Francona said that the team has to make some decisions when it comes to the spots in the rotation and if there needs to be some changes to who pitches when.
Clevinger's start on Tuesday is being taken by Adam Plutko, while it's not been determined if Plesac will keep his spot in the rotation for Saturday's game in Detroit against the Tigers.
“I’m not sure we’ve quite figured that out yet, you do what’s right regardless whether it’s convenient or not," Francona said.
"There’s a lot happening today and we’ll put our heads together and see what makes the most sense.”
When asked about his ongoing health issues and what the doctors told him about where he stands, Francona was back to having a little fun while explaining that this is a serious enough issue to where he doesn't even know the long term outcome.
“They said ‘I’m not a real picture of health,” it’s not like heart related, it’s mostly orthopedic type of things," Francona said.
"I’ve been at the clinic enough and I think I know everybody on a first name basis and they’ve been tremendous - it’s taken about a year to get to this spot, so it’s not going to go away in a week.
“I felt awful being away, and I really feel like i need to be here to help, I can’t promise this is going to go perfect, but I am certainly going to give it the best shot that I can.”