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Terry Francona still not managing Indians due to medical condition

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CLEVELAND — Indians manager Terry Francona remains absent from the team to get rest while dealing with a gastrointestinal issue that he’s battled for months.

Francona will miss his fourth straight game Wednesday night when the Indians return home to play two straight against the Reds. The two teams just wrapped up a two-game series in Cincinnati while Francona underwent tests and exams for three days at the Cleveland Clinic.

Team President Chris Antonetti said Francona will likely be sidelined for a few more days, but the hope is he’ll return to the team “in the not-too-distant future.”

Antonetti did not provide many details about Francona’s illness. He said the 61-year-old manager “is in the process of feeling better.” At this point, the objective is for Francona to feel well enough to get back in the dugout.

“Mostly right now it’s getting Tito to a point where he’s just more comfortable, where he will resume the duties that he has as manager,” he said.

Until he returns, the Indians will have third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh move into the dugout to help interim manager Sandy Alomar, the team’s usual first-base coach, with managing duties.

Tony Mansilino will fill in for Sarbaugh at third. He’s been working at the team’s alternate site in Lake County.

Francona was forced to miss a couple of spring training games in Arizona with his medical condition. He’s in his eighth season with Cleveland, which has made the postseason four times and won the AL once under Francona.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”