Chicago White Sox manager out indefinitely

Right fielder Gavin Sheets spoke with manager Tony La Russa during batting practice hours before the Chicago White Sox’s game against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.

Less than an hour before the first pitch, the Red Sox announced that La Russa would miss the game under the direction of his doctor.

“I was with him all day,” Sheets said Wednesday. “It kind of freaked me out. He looked fine all day.”

The Red Sox announced Wednesday that La Rusa will be out indefinitely and is scheduled to undergo further testing by a doctor in Arizona.

“As a team and his players,” backup Kendall Graveman said, “I just want to wish him health and recovery and everything he does in the near future and moving forward. That’s obviously where our hearts and minds are. Hopefully we can find the best doctor around him to see what’s going on.”

The 77-year-old La Russa was recently examined by a cardiologist who advised him to miss Tuesday’s game, USA TODAY’s Bob Knightgel reported. After more tests on Wednesday, La Rusa was recommended to see a heart specialist, Nightengale reported.

“I talked to him (Wednesday) and he’s fine,” Red Sox backup coach Miguel Cairo said. “But his doctors are in Arizona. They have all the information about his medical treatment and we’ll know what happened later this week.”

Cairo, who lost 9-7 on Tuesday, will continue to fill the void. He led the Red Sox to a 4-2 win on Wednesday.

“Health and family,” Graveman said. “You see us so often in our uniforms and see us on the field doing our jobs, getting ready every day to be the best baseball player we can be, and Tony is getting ready to be the best manager he can be. But at the end of it all, apart from traveling between different cities, putting on suits and fighting each other every day, we have family, we have our dear ones, we’ve been through it all together. It really puts baseball on its head in the eyes.

“I know we want to compete and win, prepare and do what we can, and that’s why we get paid. But I feel like there’s something bigger and bigger than playing baseball. He needs to be with his family right now and take care of it. Own.”

Some players, such as outfielder/first baseman Andrew Vaughn, discovered the news via social media on Tuesday.

“I saw the White Sox release something,” Vaughan said, “and I was like, ‘Oh my God. This is crazy.’ And then we had to play.

“We were trying to talk about it, trying to figure out what was going on. They mentioned a couple of things, maybe his heart. Just health. Pretty scary.”

La Russa is in his second season with the Red Sox. They won their first division title since 2008 last season, but this year has been fraught with injuries and inconsistencies. The Red Sox entered Wednesday’s game with three games under .500 at Guaranteed Rate Field in the American League mid-section.

La Russa ranks second among major league managers with 2,884 wins. The 2014 Hall of Famer won World Series titles with the Oakland Athletics (1989) and St. Louis Cardinals (2006, 2011).

“You look at his record, and it speaks for itself,” Graffman said. “He’s probably forgotten more about baseball than I know. That’s what I look up to, seeing him show up every day, go to work, work really hard. And his willingness and (desire) to win, he Live and die by winning or losing. He still cares. I’m sure he’s still watching and keeping up.

“When we lose, he’s really hurt, when we win, he’s really excited for us. I think when we win, he’s more excited not for his own good, but for the team as a whole. He was disappointed, always thinking, when we lost, he could have done better and let us win. So I respect him.”

La Russa coached the Red Sox from 1979-86 and returned in 2021, hoping to take a talented young team to the next level after the Red Sox were eliminated in the wild-card round in 2020.

The Red Sox made the playoffs last season but were eliminated in four games by the Houston Astros in the AL Divisional Series.

Expected to be one of baseball’s top teams this season, the Red Sox found themselves six games behind the division-leading Cleveland Guardians on the last day of August.

“Pray for (Larusa) first,” Sheets said. “You’re just praying for him, praying for a speedy recovery. We don’t know the full details of what’s going on, but the bottom line is we’re hoping for some wins…so when he comes back, whenever, hopefully we can In a better position in the playoffs.

“I loved playing for him. He taught me a lot. He was a great mentor to me, especially as a young player. It was like he brought me to him from my first day under his wings, showed me the ropes and learned from him along the way. I want to see him soon.”

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