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Report: Terry Francona expected to return as Cleveland Guardians manager in 2022

Francona has undergone a pair of medical procedures since stepping away from the Tribe in late July.

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. — Editor's Note: The above video is from a previously published, unrelated Indians story

When the Cleveland Guardians take the field for the 2022 season, the expectation is that Terry Francona will be in the dugout as manager.

Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti says that Francona’s positive progression after two recent procedures has the team leaning toward believing he’ll be back as manager next season, according to Mandy Bell of MLB.com.

“With where we are right now, we continue to plan looking at ’22 with Tito as our manager,” Antonetti told Bell and other reporters prior to the Indians' game with the Yankees in New York. “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.”

On July 29, Francona announced he would be stepping away from the Tribe for the remainder of the season to address several health issues. Francona underwent hip replacement surgery in August and had surgery on his left big toe in September. 

RELATED: Terry Francona will not manage Cleveland Indians for rest of season to recover from hip replacement surgery

When he left the team, Francona explained that a walking boot he had been wearing following surgery for a staph infection "exacerbated" an ongoing problem with his right hip. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic replaced the hip, then a permanent rod was put into the foot impacted by the initial infection.

Francona is in his ninth season managing the Tribe and 21st overall as a big league manger. His 723 wins with the Tribe trails only Lou Boudreau (728) for the most in franchise history. During his tenure, Cleveland has made the postseason five times, including a trip to the 2016 World Series. Francona has won two American League Manager of the Year awards and also took the Red Sox to two World Series titles.

And now it appears as if the 62-year-old Francona will indeed have the opportunity to overtake Boudreau next season and add yet another honor to his Hall of Fame-worthy resume.

“His mindset is in a much better place than he was a couple of months ago,” Antonetti said. “So he’s excited, and we spent a lot of time talking about what’s happening now with this year’s team, but a lot about 2022 planning, too. So he’s recovering well. … All signs are pointing to, you know, by the time he comes to Spring Training, he should be in a good place.”

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