MLB Notes: Terry Francona Out of Hospital After Heart Procedure

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona is resting at home following a heart procedure and four-day hospital stay.

Francona was released from the Cleveland Clinic on Friday night, one day after undergoing a cardiac ablation for an irregular heartbeat. Francona returned to his downtown residence during the Indians' 11-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.

The 58-year-old Francona had been experiencing dizziness and an accelerated heart rate over the last month. Following an array of tests, he was admitted to the hospital Tuesday after doctors detected abnormal readings from a heart monitor he had been wearing for several weeks.

Doctors hope Francona's noninvasive surgery will correct the arrhythmia, which left untreated could lead to blood clots, heart failure or stroke. They want him to his ease his normal routine, so Francona will skip next week's All-Star Game in Miami.

Bench coach Brad Mills, who has been filling in for Francona, will manage the AL team with an assist from the Indians' other coaches and Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash, who worked on Francona's staff in Cleveland and is a close friend.

Francona is expected to rejoin the Indians and assume his usual duties July 14 when the team opens a three-game series in Oakland (see full story).

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Pitch clock, limits on mound visits looming for MLB in 2018
NEW YORK -- Count CC Sabathia as a fan who wants to speed up baseball games. When the six-time All-Star tunes in at home, he quickly changes the channel.

"It's slow. It's boring," the New York Yankees pitcher said. "Man, it's so hard to watch if you have no interest in it."

The average time of a nine-inning game this season is a record 3 hours, 5 minutes -- up from an even 3 hours last year and 2:56 in 2015. Management proposed three changes last offseason the union didn't accept, and MLB has the right to start them next year without player approval: restricting catchers to one trip to the mound per pitcher each inning, employing a 20-second pitch clock and raising the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level -- at the top of the kneecap.

Union head Tony Clark has said information was being gathered from players and he expects to discuss the proposals with management this summer.

"I don't like the fact of somebody else telling me when I can go out and when I can't go out, but I understand the point," said Washington catcher Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star. "There actually is an advantage to catchers and pitchers who can get on the same page without having to take the mound visit. So I like that side of it, of both people will have to put their homework in as opposed to one kind of walking the other one through the game."

The 20-second clock is now in its third season in the high minors. It would reset when a pitcher steps off under MLB's proposal last offseason, but now the league is considering asking that it merely stop and resume. If a pitch isn't thrown within 20 seconds, a ball would be called. If the hitter isn't in the batter's box with 5 seconds remaining, a strike would be called.

Catchers head to the mound for a variety of reasons: discussing what pitch to throw, giving a pitcher a breather during a difficult inning or switching signals in an era where many are paranoid about opponents scrutinizing high-definition video to steal signs (see full story).

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