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With health issues behind him, Guardians manager Terry Francona happy headed into 11th season

After a string of health issues in recent years, Terry Francona is feeling great headed into his 11th season with the Cleveland Guardians.

Francona, who spoke Sunday at spring training in Arizona, stepped away from the team after hip and toe surgeries in 2021. That came a year after gastrointestinal and blood-clotting issues. The 63-year-old, however, says he isn’t ready to retire anytime soon.

"Everybody says, 'Do you have perspective?'" Francona said via ESPN. "I hate when we lose. I really enjoy when we win. But I love doing what we do, but I always have. I've always enjoyed it.

"If I wasn't in baseball, all I'd be doing was wishing I was in baseball."

Terry Francona
Terry Francona signed a new contract with the Guardians after leading them to an AL Central title last year. (AP/Ron Schwane)

Francona led the Guardians to a 92-70 record and an AL Central title last season, though they fell to the New York Yankees in five games in the ALDS. The three-time Manager of the Year has led Cleveland to six postseason berths and a World Series appearance since he took over in 2013. He agreed to a new contract with the Guardians this past offseason and is now the winningest manager in franchise history.

Francona isn’t limping as much anymore after his surgeries, and he has a metal rod in his foot. Seemingly back to full strength and having been reunited with his iconic scooter last month, he seems happy headed into the 2023 season.

"I think just him being in the clubhouse, it breeds confidence, first of all," outfielder Steven Kwan said of Francona via ESPN. "I mean, you kind of just feel a little easier when he's walking around. You know that the big dog is at the top, at the helm."