Terry Francona steps away from Indians for rest of season to focus on health

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The Cleveland Indians will finish the 2021 season without their manager.

The club announced Thursday that Terry Francona is stepping away for the rest of the season to "focus on his health and recover." Bench coach DeMarlo Hale will take over as manager in his stead.

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Mandy Bell of MLB.com reports that Francona will have his left hip replaced on Monday and will have a permanent rod put in his foot five or six weeks later. Health issues have been a major concern for Francona over the last few years, as The Athletic explains:

He has worn a walking boot all season, following a 10-day stint in January at the Cleveland Clinic to resolve a staph infection in his left big toe. He missed much of last season because of gastrointestinal trouble and blood-clotting issues, which required a series of three surgeries in four days and a stay in the intensive care unit.

The 62-year-old Francona has helmed Cleveland since 2013, after stints with the Boston Red Sox (including World Series titles in 2004 and 2007) and Philadelphia Phillies.

Is retirement next for Terry Francona?

Francona's season ending in such a way again raises the question of retirement for the longtime manager. During the offseason, he admitted that his health troubles last year caused him to ponder retirement, but eventually decided to return to the team.

Francona currently sits in second place on Cleveland's all-time managerial wins list, five behind Lou Boudreau for the all-time club record.

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