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Search begins for new Chicago White Sox manager as Tony La Russa steps down after health issues make it ‘impossible’ to continue

The search is underway for the next Chicago White Sox manager after Tony La Russa announced he would not be returning for the 2023 season.

“It has become apparent that the length of the treatment and recovery process for this second medical condition precludes me from coaching the White Sox in 2023,” La Russa said in a statement Monday. “The timing of this announcement now allows the front office to include recruiting for the manager position with its other priorities during the off-season.

“I was hired to provide positive leadership and support that makes a difference. Our record is proof of that. I didn’t do my job. »

La Russa read the statement, adding more thoughts throughout, before taking questions as Sox players watched from behind the conference center at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“I’m upset that I let them down this year,” La Russa said of the players.

The Hall of Fame manager, who turns 78 on Tuesday, won World Series titles with the Oakland Athletics (1989) and St. Louis Cardinals (2006 and 2011). He is second all-time among major league managers with 2,884 wins.

La Russa – who previously managed the South side from 1979 to 1986 – returned to the Sox after the 2020 season, hoping for more playoff success with a team filled with talent. They won the American League Central in 2021 but lost to the Houston Astros in four games in an AL Division series.

The Sox started this season with World Series aspirations. They ended up becoming the most disappointing team in baseball, missing the playoffs. They enter the final two games of the season at .500 after Monday’s 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.

“None of us are happy with the end result,” Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “Tony was brought in with the absolute best of intentions and pure motivation to get us to that final level of winning a championship, to finish this rebuild with championships.

“We failed and it’s disappointing on every level, and to end this way is unfortunate because you never want to see someone’s health interfere with their career goals. But that’s how it happened. »

Speaking generally about what they are looking for in the next manager, Hahn said: “The right candidate is someone who has recent experience in the dugout with an organization that has contested championships. Ideally someone who is a great communicator, who understands how the game has grown and evolved over the past decade, but at the same time respecting old school sensibilities will also be important.

“One thing that maybe comes out of the mold of at least the latest hires, having a history with the White Sox, having some sort of connection to the White Sox DNA, is not a requirement by any means.”

Hahn mentioned one name in particular: interim manager Miguel Cairo.

“Based on his performance as caretaker manager, (Cairo) absolutely deserve an interview and will get one,” Hahn said. “However, outside of Miguel, having that history with the White Sox isn’t necessarily a feature we’re looking for this time around.”

La Russa was last successful on August 28. He met with reporters around 4 p.m. before the Aug. 30 game against the Kansas City Royals for his typical interview session, but less than an hour before the first pitch, the team announced that there would not happen. evening under the direction of his doctors.

La Russa never received clearance from his doctors to return, and the team announced on September 24 that he would not be returning for the remainder of this season.

La Russa said he had a pacemaker installed in February and his doctors cleared him to start spring training as planned. He had a second medical condition analyzed while he was inactive with the pacemaker.

“The result is that a corrective plan has been developed by my medical team and implementation has begun,” La Russa said. “My overall prognosis is good and I would like to thank everyone who sent me their best wishes related to my health.”

On management again, La Russa said: “Right now I’m 100% focused on what (the doctors) tell me to do and get through it. There is a certain length in the process. It’s not like the pacemaker, you put it on and I’m out later in the day.

“All I know is that the love of the game will never die. It’s the only thing I really know how to do, except I think I can run a bookstore.

The Sox showed signs of showcasing their potential early in Cairo’s run as caretaker manager, winning 13 of 19 games. But a 10-7 loss to the Cleveland Guardians in 11 innings on Sept. 20 kicked off an eight-game losing streak.

“You never want a new manager,” Sox pitcher Lance Lynn said Sunday in San Diego. “It most likely means that you haven’t done your job as a player. In this case, (La Russa’s) health and we haven’t played up to our caliber as players. We have a lot of things we have to do individually to make sure the next guy doesn’t come in and we don’t lay another egg.

” It’s the truth. It doesn’t matter who’s running if you’re not winning games and playing good baseball. You never know what a new voice will bring but overall as players we need to do a better job of playing quality baseball all season long instead of just stretching here and there .

Instead of preparing for the playoffs, the Sox are charting the franchise’s next direction.

“There’s no one associated with this organization, at least on the baseball side — including uniformed guys, scouts, player development — who doesn’t find this past year unacceptable,” Hahn said. “And extraordinarily frustrating and disappointing. Lots of hours, time, effort, fan support, dollars have gone into trying to create a successful expanded window for this team.

“Even though things looked like they were going to continue six months ago, that hasn’t happened. The waste this year is something that I know individually that I will carry with me for some time. And I think that doesn’t happen. anyone else in our group on the baseball side or in uniform would echo those sentiments for themselves.

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