Francona, Kluber to Miss All-Star Game
Bob Toth | On 07, Jul 2017
A pair of key members of the Cleveland Indians All-Star contingent will miss Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Miami, the team announced on Friday.
Manager Terry Francona will not be at the helm for the American League All-Stars after undergoing a cardiac ablation at the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday to address a heart arrhythmia. Francona missed the entire series with the San Diego Padres this week and will not be with the club through the weekend while recovering from the procedure.
The beloved Tribe skipper is expected to rejoin the Indians for their first series after the All-Star break when the club opens the second half on a west coast trip, starting next Friday in Oakland.
“I visited with Tito this morning, and he’s actually feeling really good,” Indians team presidnet Chris Antonetti shared with the media on Friday afternoon. “I think his mind is at ease knowing they were able to perform a successful procedure to get his issue corrected, and now he knows that the path in front of him is just a little rest and recovery and he can get back to doing what he loves.”
Francona is expected to make a full recovery from the procedure and could be discharged from the Cleveland Clinic in the next few days.
Cleveland bench coach Brad Mills, who has been serving as the acting manager of the Indians in Francona’s absence, will take over the managerial duties for the All-Star Game festivities. He will be surrounded by his familiar coaching staff from Cleveland, along with former Indians bullpen coach and current manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, Kevin Cash.
Starting pitcher Corey Kluber is expected to be in attendance at the game in Miami, but will not participate. The 31-year-old right-hander is scheduled to start Sunday night’s game against the Detroit Tigers and, rather than risk injury appearing in an exhibition contest just two days later, Kluber surrendered his spot on the roster. The Indians ace was an injury replacement last season and appeared in the game, earning the win with a scoreless second inning in relief of Chris Sale, retiring Buster Posey and Anthony Rizzo on groundouts before striking out Marcell Ozuna.
“Number one, it’s trying to be smart, just because of the fact that I missed so much time,” Kluber said of the decision to skip the exhibition. “It’s trying to be cognizant of that and also probably not ideal to pitch Sunday night and then all of a sudden try to turn around, with a day of rest, and try to get out the best hitters in the National League.”
Kluber would be lined up for the team’s last start of the first half and the first start of the second half when the club opens in Oakland. The team has not formally announced the rotation order when it comes out of the All-Star break.
With one game to go in his first half, Kluber is 7-3 on the season with a 2.85 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.
Four other Indians players are still expected to partake in the 88th Midsummer Classic on Tuesday night. Jose Ramirez will start for the AL squad at third base. Outfielder Michael Brantley, shortstop Francisco Lindor, and reliever Andrew Miller are also on the roster.
Major League Baseball announced a handful of roster moves related to the American League club on Friday, with several Sunday starters or injured players being replaced. In addition to Kluber, Yu Darvish (Texas), Michael Fulmer (Detroit), and Dallas Keuchel (Houston) will miss the game due to starts on Sunday. Chris Archer (Tampa Bay), Chris Devenski (Houston), Brandon Kintzler (Minnesota), and Roberto Osuna (Toronto) were added to the pitching staff. Additionally, second baseman Robinson Cano (Seattle) was added to replace Starlin Castro (New York) and outfielder Justin Upton (Detroit) replaces the injured Mike Trout (Los Angeles).
Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images