Though this isn’t really breaking news of any sort, Tony La Russa confirmed what most of us expected: he will return to the dugout to manage the White Sox in 2022.
“Oh yeah, I’m coming back,” La Russa told Paul Sullivan of the Tribune while visiting Bulls practice at the Advocate Center.
The White Sox finished the season 93-69 and won the AL Central Division pretty easily, despite battling injuries along the way. By doing so, they established themselves as true contenders, though a quick exit in the ALDS against the Astros exposed the holes that Rick Hahn is going to need to address heading into 2022. However, La Russa mentioned in his talk with Sullivan that this disappointing exist shouldn’t obscure what the White Sox were able to do in 2021.
In previous weeks, La Russa had spoken about his desire to make sure he received buy-in from the players before returning for a second consecutive season. Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu appeared to be all-in on the idea of La Russa in the clubhouse for 2022.
“Speaking from a player’s standpoint, for sure, I want him in,” Anderson said. “He did a great job the way he managed and just being open to us. We did what he wanted us to do, which was go out and play hard for him and giving everything we got. So I was very pleased with him.”
“…I’m pretty sure he’s going to come back,” Abreu added through a translator during his previous media availability. “He won’t leave us alone. He’s going to be with us.”
La Russa originally came out of retirement this past offseason and signed a multi-year deal to manage for the first time since 2011. During his prior 33 seasons as a Major League manager, his teams made 14 postseason appearances, won 12 division titles, six pennants, and claimed three World Series championships. Since winning his final World Series in St. Louis, he also served as a baseball executive with Major League Baseball (2012-13), the Arizona Diamondbacks (2014-17), the Boston Red Sox (2017-19), and the Los Angeles Angels (2019-2020) before re-joining the White Sox.
The theme of the 2021 season: unfinished business. Hopefully, La Russa can lead the White Sox to the finish line in 2022.
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