Francona has missed 23 games after having surgery for a gastrointestinal issue at the Cleveland Clinic and then having complications from blood clotting.
“The good news is he is feeling better,” Antonetti said. “He still is recovering, so it will still be a little while before he rejoins us, but I was real encouraged by the way he looked today and I know he said he’s feeling better, which is all great news.
“But he has been through a lot and he’s in the middle of a recovery so I still expect it will be some time before he rejoins us.”
Francona was forced to leave the team last month to address a gastrointestinal problem that he’s battled for nearly a year.
Antonetti said Francona was highly complimentary of the job first-base coach Sandy Alomar has done filling in for him. The Indians are 15-8 under Alomar and they lead their division entering a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I’m sure you can imagine Tito’s self-deprecating humor in the way he said it,” Antonetti said. “But in all seriousness he’s been really proud of Sandy and the rest of the coaches. In fact, he highlighted it and said he’s hopeful that Sandy, given this opportunity, will help teams realize just how capable he is to lead a team and a franchise.”
A six-time All-Star catcher for the Indians, Alomar has been a candidate for several managerial openings in the past.
Francona, who won two World Series titles in Boston, is in his eighth season with Cleveland.
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