Francona rejoins Guardians after having COVID

CLEVELAND — Guardians manager Terry Francona has cleared Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols and returned to the team after missing four games with COVID-19.

Francona will be back for Wednesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds, along with bench coach DeMarlo Hale. They both tested positive for COVID-19 last week while the Guardians were in Chicago and returned to Ohio by bus as the team continued its trip to Minnesota.

Hitting analyst Justin Toole is also back with the Guardians, who have dealt with two separate outbreaks in recent weeks.

First baseman Josh Naylor remains the only Guardians player currently sidelined with the virus. Sandy Alomar and Mike Sarbaugh, the team’s respective first- and third-base coaches, are still sidelined after testing positive.

Francona, 63, in his 10th season with Cleveland, dealt with some symptoms over the weekend but has been feeling well the past few days. He missed most of the past two seasons to handle some serious health issues.

With Francona back, pitching coach Carl Willis returns to his normal duties after serving as acting manager.

Hitting coach Chris Valaika returned to the Guardians on Tuesday after missing three games.

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