Cleveland Indians Manager Terry Francona not nervous about managing during pandemic

Skipper ready despite being 'higher-risk'
Updated: Jun. 29, 2020 at 6:24 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Indians Manager Terry Francona admits he’s higher-risk than most in Major League Baseball, but the legendary Indians skipper said he’s not nervous as the Tribe prepares to return this week.

“No, I mean I know I’m probably one of the higher-risk guys just because of my age (61) and some of the things that have gone on,” Francona told me during a Zoom meeting on Monday. “But the trainers and doctors have been terrific, and I would rather manage and be around the guys and be around the game than not. I’d be miserable if I didn’t do it. So, no, I’m not (nervous). I hadn’t given that much thought.”

Safety protocols will be in place, including masks and distancing. But there will be extra precautions taken with Francona.

“To the extent any individual is deemed ‘high-risk’, then we would take extra precautions for that individual,” Cleveland Indians President Chris Antonetti said on Monday.

In fact, the only thing that will seem 'normal' in baseball this summer is what takes place between the lines. Outside the lines, everything will be different.

I asked Francona, a baseball lifer, if it's still better than nothing.

“I’ve never even come close to the ‘better than nothing,‘” Francona said. “I’m sitting in my office today and we’re starting to talk about baseball, and my palms are getting ... I’m good to go. And if I have to put a mask on, that might even help me.”

As of now, he should have his full team here on Wednesday.

Antonetti, who said on Friday that there have been a few isolated cases of positive Covid-19 tests within the organization (adding that the symptoms were either mild, or the player has recovered), said today that he’s optimistic that every player will be on time, and ready to go.

“At this point we’re working to still get everyone here,” Antonetti said. “Our expectation at this point is that everyone will be able to report as scheduled and proceed from there. As I mentioned, we’re in the process of working through testing, and that started on Friday, and now we’re in the process of getting back those results. To date, there have not been any positive tests on any of the testing we’ve received so far. There is so much excitement and enthusiasm to get back to baseball that guys literally can’t wait to get here.”

Francona said he just needs to get the players ready the best way he knows how.

“If we have to make changes, we will,” he said.

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