CHICAGO — White Sox manager Tony La Russa is stepping down as manager due to health concerns that kept him out of the dugout for the final five weeks of the season, he announced in a statement released Monday.
La Russa, who will turn 78 on Tuesday, hasn’t managed a game since abruptly leaving Guaranteed Rate Field on Aug. 30 after doctors told him he needed to undergo further testing related to a heart issue.
In La Russa’s absence, the underachieving White Sox did get an initial boost from acting manager Miguel Cairo, but that was short-lived as the White Sox were swept at home by the Cleveland Guardians in a key September series. They went on to lose eight in a row and are now hoping to at least finish at .500 or above for the third consecutive season.
La Russa’s second stint with the team, after managing the White Sox in the early 1980s, drew headlines for his unorthodox moves, but the team won the American League Central by 13 games in his first season.
This year has been anything but smooth. The White Sox have hovered around the .500 mark all year despite being preseason favorites to win the division again. La Russa intentionally walked two batters who had two strikes on them, further garnering headlines and controversy.