Indians expecting Terry Francona back in 2022

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By , Audacy Sports

The Indians are anticipating the return of Terry Francona as team manager in 2022, according to multiple reports.

Club president Chris Antonetti told reporters on Saturday that the team is operating as if Francona will be back on the bench after his 2021 season was cut short by health issues.

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"We continue to plan looking at 2022 with Tito as our manager," Antonetti said, according to Zack Meisel of The Athletic. "If at some point that changes, we're gonna have to reconsider things. But we have no reason to think that'll be the case."

The team will continue to monitor Francona's offseason rehabilitation, Antonetti added, according to Mandy Bell of MLB.com.

The 62-year-old two-time World Series winner stepped away from the team for the balance of the season in July, owing to hip and toe surgeries. He also missed time in 2020 with a separate health issue.

Last season, Sandy Alomar took over in Francona's absence, while this season it was DeMarlo Hale.

Francona joined the Indians in 2013, after a successful eight-year run with the Red Sox, including the two championships. The Indians have five playoff appearances since he came aboard, including a World Series berth in 2016.

Next season will mark the first under the Guardians moniker for the Cleveland baseball franchise.