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Guardians manager Francona still sidelined with COVID-19

By TOM WITHERS

AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) Guardians manager Terry Francona missed his fourth consecutive game on Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

Francona and most of his coaching staff were forced to return from the team's trip to Chicago and Minnesota after an outbreak in Cleveland's clubhouse. The series finale against the White Sox was postponed shortly after Francona's positive test.

First baseman Josh Naylor also remains out following his positive test on Friday.

Pitching coach Carl Willis, who is filling in as manager while Francona recovers, said he has spoken with the 63-year-old several times.

"He's feeling much better," Willis said before the Guardians opened a two-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. "I think he's ready. Again, it's just a matter of when his numbers or the negative tests come in that he's cleared to rejoin us. But he's feeling much better."

Francona missed most of the past two seasons with serious health issues.

The Guardians did get back hitting coach Chris Valaika, one of five members of Francona's staff to test positive. Bench coach DeMarl Hale, first-base coach Sandy Alomar and third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh are still out.

"They're all feeling much much better," Willis said. "A couple of them have been asymptomatic. There are protocols in place that we have to get to these numbers or consecutive negative test until they can rejoin us. Again, that's a fluid situation. I certainly hope they're cleared soon."

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Updated May 17, 2022

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