MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Francona's health will determine how long he manages Tribe

Francona's health will determine how long he manages Tribe

PHOENIX -- In four years at the helm, manager Terry Francona has guided the Indians to two postseason appearances and one American League pennant. Based on what they have on their current roster, the Indians are expected to go deep in the postseason again this October.

Francona, 57, has entered his 17th season as a manager. When asked if he might have at least 15 more years in the tank, Francona wasn't so sure.

Francona's health will determine how long he manages, as he has a history of medical issues -- from a pulmonary embolism to blood clots.

"It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year," Francona said on MLB.com's podcast, "Newsmakers." "I've had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can't see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I'm shortchanging the team or the organization. That's not fair.

"Even now, during batting practice, I'll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I'm going to have to pull back, and it's not because I don't love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right."

Francona at Media Day

Despite having his medical issues, Francona goes to the ballpark with a positive attitude. He doesn't want his players to know what he is going through on a regular basis. It also helps he loves working for the Indians.

In fact, Francona says general manager Mike Chernoff and Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations, helped him become "a better person." He calls it a healthy situation.

"Regardless how tough the night before was, that next day before I get in there, I give myself a talking to because they don't deserve to see me with my tail between my legs. I think it sends a terrible message," Francona said. "There have been some days when I say, 'Boy, this is harder than any other day.' ... I love being here. I think anyone who has spent 10 minutes with me knows how much I like it here."

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002 and does a podcast, Newsmakers. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.