Terry Francona 'recovering well' after surgeries, expected to return to Cleveland

Cleveland manager Terry Francona stepped away from the team back in July to undergo a hip replacement and surgery on his left foot, and president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti updated reporters on the veteran skipper’s progress on Saturday, via MLB.com’s Mandy Bell.  

© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports Cleveland is planning for Terry Francona’s return in 2022.

Francona has now undergone both procedures, and is recovering in Cleveland with plans for him to soon return to his home in Arizona for further convalescence.  Most importantly, Francona is “recovering well,” according to Antonetti, and “his mindset is in a much better place than he was a couple of months ago.”

While Francona’s health remains the priority, Antonetti also said that the manager has already begun making some plans for the 2022 team.  There wasn’t any question that Francona would be welcomed back for his 10th season in Cleveland’s dugout if he was able, and the prospects of that return are looking a bit brighter now that Francona’s procedures have taken place.  

“We continue to plan looking at ’22 with Tito as our manager.  If at some point that changes, we’re going to have to reconsider and relook at things at that point.  But we have no reason to think that will be the case,” Antonetti said.

More from the soon-to-be Guardians….

  • Antonetti also provided reporters (including The Athletic’s Zack Meisel) with updates on some injured Cleveland players, including the news that top prospect Nolan Jones will probably undergo ankle surgery.  Jones was placed on the minor league injured list at the start of September with a high ankle sprain, and this procedure will help Jones be fully healthy for the start of spring training.  Jones has played the entire season at Triple-A Columbus, hitting .238/.356/.431 with 13 home runs over 407 plate appearances.  Jones is ranked among the top 100 prospects in the sport by both MLB.com (69th) and Baseball America (75th).
  • Shane Bieber’s second rehab start is scheduled for Sunday, when the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner is expected to throw 55-60 pitches or four innings of work for the Columbus affiliate.  Bieber has been out of action for more than two months due to a shoulder strain, but he tentatively appears to be on pace to get back to Cleveland’s roster before the season is over.

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Related slideshow: Who has the most home runs in a season for every MLB franchise? (Provided by Yardbarker)

Who has the most home runs in a season for every MLB franchise?

Has the home run been diminished by the fact the ball seems to fly out of the park these days? Perhaps a little, but we still love the long ball. We know who has the greatest home run seasons in MLB history, but every franchise has a single-season record for homers as well. That’s just math. Who is the slugger with the most dingers in a year for every team? Here they are, in alphabetical order based on team city.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Luis Gonzalez

2001 was a magical year for the Diamondbacks. Not only did they win the World Series over the Yankees, but Gonzalez also had a career season. Shockingly, the 33-year-old hit 57 homers after never hitting more than 31 in any of his other campaigns. Of course since this was 2001, some are skeptical in hindsight. We’re not here to pass judgment.

Atlanta Braves: Andruw Jones

Jones should be a Hall of Famer. He made his MLB debut as a teenager and quickly became the best center fielder in baseball. Eventually he would bulk up a bit and become a slugger as well. Jones hit 51 homers in 2005. When you can do that one year and win a Gold Glove the next, you should be knocking on the door of Cooperstown.

Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis

How quickly things can change. In 2013, Davis hit 53 homers to lead the majors. He did it again with 47 in 2015. Now? He’s arguably the worst hitter in baseball. Davis batted a combined .172 between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and even set a record for consecutive at-bats without a hit.

Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz

There’s a reason Big Papi is loved in Boston. After the Twins gave up on him, the Red Sox picked up Ortiz, and he turned himself into maybe the best designated hitter in baseball history (give or take an Edgar Martinez). His peak came in 2006 when he hit 54 homers to lead the American League. Unsurprisingly, he also led the league in RBI that year.

Chicago Cubs: Sammy Sosa

Oh, to put up 66 homers in a season and be an afterthought. That’s what happened to Sosa in 1998. Only two men have ever hit more home runs than Sosa in a year, but one of those guys did it the same year the Cubs slugger hit his 66 jacks. Well, at least he still has the single-season record for a storied franchise.

Chicago White Sox: Albert Belle

We get to the first team without a 50-homer season in its history. Pick up the slack, White Sox! Funnily enough, it was also 1998 when Belle set the “other” Chicago team’s franchise record. He couldn’t quite hit 66 homers though, settling for “only” 49.

Cincinnati Reds: George Foster

Who? You may not recognize the name, on account of the fact he isn’t a particularly famous player and also because he retired in 1986. It was in 1977 that Foster not only hit 52 home runs but also won the NL MVP. Alas, he was overshadowed by a few of his teammates on Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine.

Cleveland Indians: Jim Thome

Thome had a reputation for being “country strong.” Maybe that’s because he wasn’t cut or muscular but instead seemed like a big slab of man. Despite not being the pinnacle of fitness, you can’t deny the power in Thome’s bat. He racked up a ton of homers in his career, including 52 in 2002.

Colorado Rockies: Larry Walker and Todd Helton

Yes, we have a tie in Colorado. In fact, it’s the only tie among MLB’s 30 franchises. Walker hit 49 homers in 1997. Helton did it in 2001. Yes, despite the thin air at Coors Field, no Rockie has a 50-homer season.

Detroit Tigers: Hank Greenberg

We’re kicking it old-school here! Greenberg was a slugger at a time when guys who could mash the ball were few and far between. The Hall of Famer had a somewhat brief career, as he missed three seasons for military service. However, he still managed to lead the American League in homers four times, including in 1938 when he hit a whopping 58. That’s a ton even now.

Houston Astros: Jeff Bagwell

Apparently sign stealing didn’t help any Astros set a new franchise record for homers. Instead, famed Houston slugger Bagwell, forever remembered for his funky stance, has held the record since way back in 2000. He hit 47 dingers in the heyday of the “Killer B’s.”

Kansas City Royals: Jorge Soler

Soler was considered one of the best prospects in baseball out of Cuba, but he couldn’t stay healthy with the Cubs. Prior to 2019, he had never played more than 101 games in a season. In 2019, he played a full 162 game season and hit 48 homers.

Los Angeles Angels: Troy Glaus

Nope, it’s not Mike Trout. It isn’t even Vlad Guerrero. Instead, it’s the largely forgotten Glaus who has the record for the Angels. In 2000 Glaus smacked 47 homers for Anaheim. Given the era, some may view that with skepticism. Well we have news for you. A lot of these records were set between 1998 and 2002.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Shawn Green

So many great players have worn Dodger blue, but it’s Green who hit more homers in a season than any of them. Not that Green was a slouch as a player. He had a solid career, but he made only two All-Star Games. Weirdly that doesn’t include 2001 when he set a Dodgers record with 49 homers.

Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton

So many great players have spent parts of their careers in Miami, but they all end up moving on. Stanton is one of them. He hit 59 homers in 2017 and won the NL MVP. That offseason he was traded to the Yankees. And they wonder why there are attendance problems in Miami.

Milwaukee Brewers: Prince Fielder

His father, Cecil, was quite the slugger, but Prince may have been even better at his peak. In only his second full season in the league, 2007, Fielder hit 50 homers, which ended up being a personal best. Unfortunately injuries ended Prince’s career early, as he last played in the majors when he was only 32.

Minnesota Twins: Harmon Killebrew

The Twins set a new record for most home runs as a team in 2019, but no individual player hit more than Killebrew. The man rumored to be the source of the silhouette in the MLB logo was a tremendous slugger, leading the AL in homers six times. He hit 49 home runs twice in his career, so he in a way is tied with himself for the record in Minnesota. Killebrew did it the first time in 1964 and then again in 1969.

New York Mets: Pete Alonso

You know in what season this happened. After all, Alonso was a rookie in 2019. Yes, he stepped into the majors and immediately hit 53 homers. Naturally, he won Rookie of the Year. He hit more homers than any other rookie in baseball history. Of course he did.

New York Yankees: Roger Maris

While Maris’ 61 homers have been passed a few times now, his 1961 season is still the stuff of legend. For years, Babe Ruth, a fellow Yankee, had the record with 60 homers. Then, Maris bested it to set a new major league record. Since he played in more games, though, some wanted to put an asterisk on Maris’ 61 homers. Then there are those who still say he has the record, but we aren’t going to debate.

Oakland Athletics: Jimmie Foxx

This is the oldest season on the list. In fact, it was so long ago the Athletics were still in Philadelphia. Foxx was one of the original true sluggers in baseball. When he hit 58 homers for the A’s in 1932, it was almost unheard of at the time. Heck, it’s still almost unheard of.

Philadelphia Phillies: Ryan Howard

From Philly’s old team to the current one. Howard’s one skill was slugging, but he could do that with aplomb at his peak. He was certainly at the prime of his powers in 2006 when he hit a whopping 58 dingers. Yes, that’s the same number Foxx hit in the same city over 70 years prior. Maybe it’s a Philadelphia thing.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Ralph Kiner

Kiner made the Hall of Fame despite playing in only 10 seasons. He got a lot of bang for his buck though. Kiner led the National League in home runs seven straight seasons to start his career. That includes the 1949 campaign when he went yard 54 times.

San Diego Padres: Greg Vaughn

This was before the Padres moved to the spacious confines of Petco Park, which has suppressed homers quite a bit. Vaughn is one of the lesser-known names on this list, as he bounced around the majors and never led the league in homers. Vaughn did hit 50 homers in 1998, though. Of course, that year he wasn’t close to sniffing the lead in the NL.

Seattle Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr.

There are complicated feelings about Alex Rodriguez, and maybe even Randy Johnson, in Seattle. That doesn’t feel like it’s the case with Griffey. The Kid made himself a star in Seattle before heading to Cincinnati where his father played. Griffey hit 56 homers in back-to-back campaigns, first in 1997 and then again in 1998. That first year he also led the majors in RBI, which helped him win his only MVP.

San Francisco Giants: Barry Bonds

Remember this guy? We’re sure you do. Bonds is one of the most polarizing players ever, and to some, he’s the face of the steroid era. Say what you will, but the man was an incredible hitter. In addition to having the most career home runs in MLB history, he also had the best individual season ever. In 2001, he hit a staggering 73 homers. Nobody is ever going to do that again.

St. Louis Cardinals: Mark McGwire

That 1998 season? The one where Greg Vaughn hit 50 and Sammy Sosa hit 66? In the end, that year belonged to Big Mac. He and Sosa were racing to beat Maris’ record. They both did it, but in the end McGwire got the upper hand. He was the first player to ever hit 70 home runs in a season and one of only two guys to do it.

Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Pena

The Rays and the Diamondbacks are the two most recent teams to join the majors. Arizona has that one crazy season from Luis Gonzalez. Tampa doesn’t have that. Pena set the franchise mark in 2007 with 46 homers. That’s tied with the fewest homers to be a team record.

Texas Rangers: Alex Rodriguez

Rodriguez got a lot of guff when he left the Mariners to join the Rangers. Signing a truly insane contract didn’t help. People wanted him to fail. He didn’t win a ring in Texas, but you can’t blame Rodriguez for that. A-Rod won the MVP in his final season with the Rangers, but it’s the year before, 2002, when he hit 57 homers.

Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista

It took a while for Bautista to get his career going. Heading into 2010, he had 59 home runs in his career. Joey Bats was 29 and seemed like a journeyman. Then suddenly, he exploded for 54 homers. It wasn’t a total fluke either, and more a sign of him being a late bloomer. Bautista made six All-Star Games in a row and added two more 40-homer seasons in his career.

Washington Nationals: Alfonso Soriano

This includes when the Nationals were known as the Expos, but evidently none of Montreal’s sluggers ever hit that many homers. After all, Soriano’s record, which he set in 2006, is only 46. That means he is the guy tied with Pena for the most meager home run record. How long will the record be safe? Well, now that Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon are gone, it may be a bit safer.

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