Chicago White Sox Manager Tony La Russa is out indefinitely with unspecified health issues.
La Russa, 77, missed Tuesday night’s 9-7 loss to Kansas City on medical advice. The team said he is scheduled to undergo further testing in Arizona with his personal doctors “in the coming days.”
Reserves coach Miguel Cairo will continue to serve as coach while La Russa is out.
“It’s incredibly tough,” outfielder Andrew Vaughn said. “We really don’t have a lot of information about what’s going on.”
La Russa’s absence on Tuesday was announced about an hour before the first game. The Hall of Famer showed no signs of health problems during his pregame meeting with reporters and while talking with general manager Rick Hahn and former Oakland Athletics great pitcher Dave Stewart before the game.
Right fielder Gavin Sheets spent Tuesday with La Russa and said he was “surprised” to learn of his manager’s absence after batting practice.
“I found out about it on Twitter,” Vaughn said. “I saw the White Sox put something out and I thought, ‘Oh my God! It’s crazy.” And then you just had to go play.”
Cairo said he spoke with La Russa and exchanged text messages Wednesday regarding the lineup and potential matchups in the game before he left for Arizona.
“I’ll call him whenever I can,” Cairo said. “I’m going to text or call and see how he’s doing. But he’ll be back.”
La Russa is in the second season of his second stint at the helm in Chicago. The team started the year with championship aspirations, but it ended up being one of the biggest disappointments in baseball.
Heading into the second game of their series against the Royals, the White Sox had lost five straight to fall to 63-66. Chants of “Fire Tony! Fire Tony!” were heard at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“I understand that we want to compete and win and prepare and do the best we can, and that’s what we’re paid to do,” shortstop Kendall Graveman said. “But at the end of the day, there are things that I think are vital and much more important than the game of baseball.
“He needs to be with his family and take care of himself at the moment. I don’t know what’s going on with the details, but hopefully we’ll know more in the future and that’s good news for him.”
La Russa, who is close friends with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, was unexpectedly hired in October 2020 and guided the team to the AL Central title last year.
He began his managerial career with the White Sox in the 1979 season. He won a World Series with Oakland in 1989 and St. Louis in 2006 and 2011.
La Russa and Sparky Anderson are the only managers to win a World Series in both the American and National Leagues.
La Russa was anchored in Cooperstown in 2014. He got his first major league job at age 34 when the White Sox moved him up from Triple-A to replace the fired Don Kessinger. He took over in August and led them to a 522-510 record over parts of eight seasons.
“I can’t be Tony La Russa,” said Cairo, who played for La Russa with the Cardinals. “He’s a Hall of Famer. He’s got a lot of wins. But I’ve learned a lot from him.”
This is reported by the Associated Press.
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