Chest pains likely caused by virus

4/9/2005 - Boston Red Sox

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona was released from a hospital Friday, two days after experiencing chest pains that doctors said were likely caused by a virus.

Francona complained of tightness in his chest and was hospitalized in New York on Wednesday before the Red Sox played the Yankees. He was later transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for more testing.

Team physician Dr. Thomas Gill said Friday that tests showed no evidence of a serious heart problem and that Francona's chest pains were probably caused by "a recent viral illness."

"He will be monitored over the weekend by the Red Sox medical staff and should be ready to return to the bench on Monday for the team's home opener," Gill said in a statement. "He is in good spirits and is extremely eager to return to the team."

The Red Sox are scheduled to receive their World Series rings in Monday's home opener against the Yankees. Bench coach Brad Mills will continue to serve as interim manager for this weekend's three-game series in Toronto.

"As much as I want to return to my responsibilities, the medical people have made it clear I should wait a couple of days," Francona said in a statement. "In the meantime, I'll be watching the games on TV, second-guessing Millsie and counting the hours until I can return to the dugout and get back to work."

Mills said Francona was eager to get back.

"He was very much relieved that the blockage is not what they had feared," Mills said. "He's very happy and relieved, as are the players and the organization."

Mills also said Francona has stopped chewing tobacco because of his health concerns.

"He's stopped chewing. I'm sure there are other things he's going to try to do," Mills said. "He's always tried to work out."

In his first season as manager, Francona led Boston to its first World Series title in 86 years.

He had experienced chest pains before -- the result of life-threatening blood clots that developed from a knee operation.

Ten days after knee surgery in 2002, he was in Seattle interviewing for the Mariners' managing job when he experienced severe chest pains.

Upon his return home, Francona said, doctors discovered a blood clot had gone to his lungs. He was given blood thinners and the problem was thought to be under control, but complications developed. He had staph infections in both knees, which required four more operations, he said, and then developed serious hemorrhaging in his leg that ultimately required an additional two operations.

He was sent home after Thanksgiving, but more clotting ensued and he was hospitalized until Christmas Eve. In all, he said, he underwent eight operations to deal with the problem. On more than one occasion, he said, the situation was life-threatening.

Francona played 10 years in the major leagues as a first baseman and outfielder. He had already had 11 knee operations when he went in for the arthroscopic procedure in November 2002.

Francona also managed the Phillies from 1997-2000.