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Hahn on La Russa's return: 'We're not at that point yet'

/ by Tim Stebbins
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Tony La Russa is back at Guaranteed Rate Field this week for the White Sox’ series against the Rockies, albeit taking in the action from a suite.

Whether the White Sox manager returns to the dugout, however, remains uncertain.

“As for if and when that may occur, we simply don't have that information at this point,” general manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday. “And in the end, we're going to, understandably, follow the advice of medical experts on this.”

La Russa has been away from the dugout since Aug. 30 due to a heart issue. He was cleared to travel to Oakland for Sunday’s celebration honoring Dave Stewart, whom La Russa managed while with the A’s in the 1980s.

La Russa told USA Today's Bob Nightengale in Oakland it's "uncertain" when he'll return. He flew back to Chicago with the White Sox but has not been cleared to manage.

Do the Sox have to prepare as if La Russa won't be back this season?

“Again, we're following the advice of the medical experts and Tony's lead," Hahn said. "So far, for obviously this series and over the foreseeable future, we're preparing the same way we've prepared over the last two weeks.

"So far it's been going well. Miggy (acting manager Miguel Cairo) and the coaches deserve a ton of credit, as do the players.”

The Sox were 63-65 and five games back of first in the AL Central when Cairo stepped into the acting manager seat. They entered Tuesday 9-4 since and three games back of the Guardians.

 

Hahn was asked whether La Russa’s return is just a matter of him being cleared by doctors and wanting to return, or if there are other factors involved in the process.

“I think it's a conversation once we get to that point, but we're not at that point yet,” Hahn said. “For now, it's just taking it day-by-day and following the lead of the medical professionals and talking to Tony.”

With all the uncertainty, Cairo is taking things one day at a time. He’s remained in contact with La Russa the past few weeks and is glad to have the Hall of Famer as a resource.

Is he mentally prepared to manage the rest of the way?

“I mentally prepare every day,” Cairo said. “Today, I’m the manager. Tomorrow, I don't know. But that's my job right now and I’m glad [La Russa is] around. I'm glad because I’m always asking questions about what I could have done better or what I could do different or stuff like that.

“He's a mentor. He's like a father to me. I care about him. I'm glad he's well, that he's in good spirits.”

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