CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa will not return to the dugout this season.
La Russa, who turns 78 on October 4, underwent “additional medical tests and procedures over the past week,” the team said on Saturday, and doctors ordered the Hall of Fame not to handle for the rest of the season.
Bench coach Miguel Cairo will continue to act as interim White Sox manager.
“Right now the focus is on his health,” general manager Rick Hahn said when asked if La Russa still wanted to manage.
La Russa left the White Sox ahead of an Aug. 30 game against Kansas City to deal with a heart condition. He joined the club in Oakland on September 11 and returned to Chicago for a two-game series against Colorado.
La Russa was waiting for permission to return to the dugout and manage during matches. Chicago lost to Detroit 7-2 on Saturday night.
“We will continue to follow his wishes to keep much of the specific details and his personal information under wraps,” Hahn said Saturday. “I spoke to him on the way this morning, and he had no problem with us letting everyone know that there is a treatment protocol in place that he plans to follow. As a result, he won’t manage the rest of this season.
“As for the inevitable question, ‘Well, what does that mean for next season?’ We will finish this season first and then tackle everything when it comes time to turn the page at the end of this year.
Cairo said he spoke to La Russa for about 15 minutes on Friday night and was fine. When asked if he wanted the managerial job, Cairo said he was focused on the current season.
“Right now we have 11 more games,” Cairo said. “I don’t know what will happen. He’s still a year old.
“I spoke to the players today, let them know and it’s still 11 games,” said Cairo, who was the bench coach. “Let’s finish strong.
The White Sox have won 10 of their first 14 games under Cairo, but have lost five in a row to fall to a season-high nine behind AL Central leaders Cleveland.
“Miggy and the coaches did a really good job,” Hahn said. “We have seen many times, unfortunately not in the last four days or so, but for long stretches over the last few weeks, this team show flashes of play at the level that we thought we were capable of over the course of the whole season. It’s a little too little too late in the year.
“But I think these guys deserve a lot of credit for what was thrown on them on the fly and the way they reacted, both in the coaching room and the way they reacted.”
The White Sox started the season with high hopes of defending their division title under La Russa.
“He’s a Hall of Famer,” outfielder Eloy Jiménez said. “He had an impact in every way in the clubhouse. For us, he wasn’t available to be there for those games we were playing, and he’s fighting for his life, so that’s not good. That’s all I can say for now.”
Tigers manager AJ Hinch said La Russa’s health was the “no.” 1 concern.
“These are stressful jobs; you can’t take your health for granted,” Hinch said. “As men in this sport, we often don’t ask for help, so I’m glad he’s good. On the management side, he’s a Hall of Famer. He’s done everything that every one of us who has ever held this position would dream of doing His accomplishments in different teams, different leagues, different jobs in his role in baseball and the number of players he touched, the staff he developed, his resume speaks for itself and his impact in the game should be respected forever.
The White Sox also made several roster changes. Outfielder Luis Robert will be closed for the season because discomfort from his sprained left wrist worsened after being hit by a pitch, Hahn said. Chicago placed Robert on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Outfielder Mark Payton has been recalled from Triple-A Charlotte.
Reliever Joe Kelly was reinstated from the family medical leave list and left-hander Tanner Banks was opted for Charlotte.
Shortstop Tim Anderson could return this season after being placed on the disabled list for a sagittal band tear in his left middle finger on Aug. 9, Hahn said. Anderson was expected to miss six to eight weeks.
“It’s really a question of whether it makes sense at this point in the year to try and rush into that two-week window or let nature take its course and send it completely healed to the end. offseason,” Hahn said.
Right-hander Michael Kopech’s right shoulder is doing well, but the White Sox have discussed when a knee cyst will be removed, Hahn said. Kopech went on the 15-day disabled list for right shoulder inflammation on September 17.
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