Francona feeling fine after health scare

Francona feeling fine after health scare

TORONTO -- It isn't very often that Red Sox manager Terry Francona experiences a first on the baseball field. He has been around the game in some form or fashion just about his entire life.

But during Thursday's argument with home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor in the bottom of the eighth inning, which led to his ejection, Francona's blood pressure spiked to the point where he feared collapsing on the field.

"When I was on the field, I thought I was going down," Francona said. "I had to stop for a second. I thought I was going to pass out. I got to the clubhouse and my heart and my blood pressure, it was just going fast. It wasn't slowing down. I feel fine today."

As first reported by the Boston Herald, Francona was examined by emergency medical technicans shortly after his ejection. The Red Sox's medical staff wanted to make sure Francona's blood pressure had normalized by the time he got on the team flight to Toronto. As it turned out, he made a swift recovery and flew with the team as scheduled and was in the dugout for Friday night's game.

"Better," Francona said when asked how he was feeling. "I just got a little over whatever. They didn't want me to get on the plane until everything slowed down. I was probably more embarrassed than anything, but I appreciated the fact that they cared."

Not only did Francona have his health back, but also his sense of humor.

He got a kick out of a text message from director of baseball operations Brian O'Halloran.

"This is how you know they really care," Francona said, as he looked at his phone. "[Text] from Brian O'Halloran. 'Are you alive?'"

Francona, 50 and in his 10th season as a Major League manager and sixth with the Red Sox, has had medical scares in the past.

He was taken to a hospital in April 2005 after sweating profusely and complaining of chest pains while riding the team bus from Manhattan to Yankee Stadium. The symptoms were determined to be caused by a virus.

Francona was hospitalized for 10 days in 2002 because of blood clots in his lungs, and complications from knee surgeries later that year caused bleeding in the artery in his right thigh and nearly led to an amputation. As a result, he takes blood-thinning medication daily.

"I don't ever go into a game thinking something is going to happen," Francona said. "They kind of happen at the [most unexpected] times. I wasn't sitting over there thinking, 'I can't wait to go yell at this guy.'"

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who was ejected along with his manager, could sense that something was amiss with Francona.

"I was upstairs with [Francona] after," said Varitek. "He just didn't look right. He looks a lot better today."

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.