At the discretion of his doctors, White Sox manager Tony La Russa missed Tuesday night’s game against the Royals, the club announced about 45 minutes before the first pitch.
La Russa is scheduled to undergo further medical testing Wednesday in Chicago. The Sox said they expect to provide an update on La Russa’s status before Wednesday night’s game against the Royals.
La Russa, 77, held his daily meeting with media at about 4 p.m. and seemed fine. He was also seen talking to general manager Rick Hahn on the field before the game — not an unusual occurrence — and going through his normal routine. Earlier, he was on the field while players were doing early work. La Russa also chatted with former Oakland Athletics All-Star pitcher Dave Stewart.
Bench coach Miguel Cairo managed the team in La Russa’s absence.
“We found out about an hour before the game,” Cairo said after the Sox’ 9-7 loss. “We’re going to find out [Wednesday] what’s going on. Hopefully he’s fine and back with us doing his duties.
“Believe me he would have loved to be there. He wanted to be there but he needed to rest.”
La Russa, who turns 78 on Oct. 4, is in his second season managing the Sox since getting hired before the 2021 season to come out of a nine-year retirement from a Hall of Fame career. The Sox won 93 games and the American League Central Division title in 2021 but have been among the biggest disappointments in baseball in 2022. They fell to 63-66 and to six games out of first place.
The announcement from the team was brief and included minimal details about La Russa’s condition.
“I didn’t know much about it till I saw it on the scoreboard,” said starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, who allowed five runs over 5 1/3 innings but said he was unaffected by the news about La Russa. “It was fine. My job is a lot different than a manager’s job so I just focus on what I need to do.”
It has been a difficult season for La Russa, who has been the subject of criticism for lineup construction and in-game decisions and the recipient of “fire Tony” chants from home crowds. While many players have been injured or have performed below expectations, La Russa has taken much of the blame for the team’s failures, warranted or not.
While there was concern for La Russa’s health throughout the organization, the hope from within was that he would be allowed to return soon.
Meanwhile, time is running out on the Sox’ hopes of cutting into the Guardians’ lead. While the Sox were losing to the Royals, the Guardians were defeating the Orioles 5-1.
La Russa was asked about the team’s sense of urgency just a couple of hours before the team fell to 7-10 against the 52-78 Royals.
“Yeah, I think you can see some of the pressing and frustration [from players], trying to force things,” La Russa said.
“We talk every day. We have a lot of conversations in the clubhouse. It’s a very tight group. Everybody knows we’ve got to win games, starting with this one today, period. Think about ‘just win’ today. That’s the message they’re all sending to each other.
“The guys know that time is running out.”