CLEVELAND — Tribe manager Terry Francona is stepping away from his duties as manager for the remainder of the 2021 season so he can focus on his health, the team announced Thursday.
Francona will undergo a hip replacement on Monday in addition to having the permanent rod placed into his foot five to six weeks later, once he's recovered enough from the hip surgery.
The skipper made the decision with the organization to step away so he could recover from the procedures and get his health back up.
"We need to get it taken care of and get Tito back to being healthy and fully mobile and so that's why we made the collective decision for him to take time away from the team and get things addressed that he needs to get addressed," said President Chris Antonetti. "I trust you can all appreciate how difficult this was for Tito because of how much he cares about the players, about the team and about the organization and the responsibility he feels for the job and how much he care about everybody and so this has been an incredibly difficult decision but one that we arrived at together."
Francona said that the last road trip he made with the Tribe was tough for him and that was the key indicator he needed to really focus on his health.
"I've been in the boot... and last year I was contemplating on getting my hip done but I couldn't because of all the other things that were going on. Being in this boot has kind of exacerbated that," Francona said. "It had gotten to the point where I didn't feel like I was doing my job appropriately and I didn't feel like I was being fair to the organization but at the same time I almost didn't feel like I was being fair to myself either."
For the remainder of the season, bench coach DeMarlo Hale will take over managerial duties.
The Tribe said third base coach Mike Sarbaugh will slide to the bench coach role and coaching assistant Kyle Hudson will take over third base coaching duties.
"I'm just not able right now physically to do what I think, how it needs to be done appropriately," Francona said. "I haven't lost the love of the game or the love of our baseball team or the people in it. If anything I know I care more today than I ever did. The relationships have grown and have gotten stronger. But I've got to get healthy or I can't do this job. So it's like one step at a time."
Francona entered the season already dealing with health issues. He was hospitalized last season after undergoing surgery for a gastrointestinal issue and then dealt with blood clotting complications. In January Francona had toe surgery following a staph infection.
After the surgery and while he's rehabbing, Francona said that he hopes he'll be in good enough shape to be able to be at the ballpark when the team is playing at Progressive Field to be around the guys, but he's not planning on micromanaging Hale or the other coaches.
"If I can help I will but they're good at what they do," Francona said.
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