GOODYEAR, ARIZ.– Indians manager Terry Francona will be away from the club until Sunday, following the death of his father, Tito Francona.
The elder Francona, who played for the Indians from 1959-64, was 84. He died at his home in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night.
“He was a special individual, not only was he an important player for our franchise, but he was universally respected, liked and admired,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Thursday. “Every time he walked into the room he had a smile and an infective energy. And you couldn’t help but enjoy the time with him. …
“And then to see the bond that Tito and his dad had and the way that they were able to continue to connect over baseball and the memories that they shared, whether it was over the phone talking about games after they happened or Tito’s visits to the ballpark to catch up.”
While Francona will return to Arizona on Sunday afternoon, he was on hand for the team’s Thursday morning workout.
“He’ll tell you he’s most comfortable on a baseball field and in a baseball clubhouse and that’s really where he wants to be and where he’s happiest,” Antonetti said.
“So, it’s really difficult time for him and an emotional time given the relationship he had with his dad but he really enjoyed being on the field today.