By Stephen Whyno
AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON — A day after a health scare forced Terry Francona out of action, the Cleveland Indians’ manager felt more embarrassed than anything about not being able to work a game.
Francona complained of chest pains, broke out into a sweat and had a heart rate over 100 beats a minute at Nationals Park. After an electrocardiogram and full checkup at the stadium, the Indians sent him back to the hotel as a precaution.
Francona was back at the ballpark for their game Wednesday afternoon.
Despite a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, Francona appreciated jokes from team staffers like travel director Mike Segli calling dibs on his scooter.
“I probably had more messages that were not complimentary than were,” Francona said with a laugh. “I was more embarrassed. If guys started worrying — treating me like that — I’d have been scared. Because if anybody deserves it it’s probably me.”
The 57-year-old has twice suffered a pulmonary embolism. He compared Tuesday’s episode to something that happened to him at Yankee Stadium in 2005 when he was managing the Boston Red Sox.
The day after a dinner with his coaches, Francona had to be woken up on the bus ride to the stadium by bench coach Brad Mills and knew something was wrong when he was drenched in sweat. Francona tried to manage through it, but when a paramedic gave him nitroglycerin and the reaction produced a headache, he was rushed to a hospital by helicopter for fear that he had a heart attack.
Francona didn’t have a heart attack but rather something that mimicked the symptoms.
Doctors “thought one of my (blood) clots had maybe slipped through the little screen in there,” Francona said. “It kind of acts like a heart attack and gives you the same feeling and then because I’m on blood thinners it went away. It put me in the hospital for three days.”
Francona didn’t require hospitalization this time and instead reported that his heart rate was still elevated on Wednesday but not as bad. A stethoscope sat on a table outside the visiting manager’s office, but Francona joked that the Nationals’ team doctor hadn’t come over to check him out, so “he must not be that worried about me.”
Mills replaced Francona as manager for the night. The hardest part for Francona was watching from the hotel as the Indians were no-hit for six innings by Max Scherzer but then came back and won.
“I started feeling better when Scherzer threw that ball in the corner,” Francona said, referring to a two-base error that helped the Indians win 3-1. “It’s a helpless feeling, but it doesn’t matter. Millsy’s managed more games than I have. It’s just you hate to not be there.”