Right fielder Gavin Sheets had a chat with manager Tony La Russa during batting practice Tuesday, hours before the Chicago White Sox face the Kansas City Royals.
Less than an hour before the first pitch, the Sox announced that La Russa miss the game under the guidance of his doctors.
“I was with him all day,” Sheets said Wednesday. “I was taken aback by that. He looked good all day.
The Sox announced Wednesday that La Russa is out indefinitely and is scheduled to undergo further testing with doctors in Arizona.
“As a team and as a player of his own,” reliever Kendall Graveman said, “I just want to wish him the best of health and recovery and all that that entails in his near future and moving forward. the front. That’s obviously where our hearts and minds are. Hopefully we’ll have the best doctors around him to see what’s going on.”
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported La Russa, 77, recently had tests with a cardiologist, and the recommendation was to miss Tuesday’s game. Nightengale reported that after further tests on Wednesday, La Russa was asked to see cardiologists.
“I spoke to him (on Wednesday), he was fine,” Sox coach Miguel Cairo said. “But his doctor is in Arizona. They have all the information on his medical examination, and we will find out later in the week what is going on.
Cairo, who managed the 9-7 loss on Tuesday, will continue to substitute. He guided the Sox to a 4-2 victory on Wednesday.
“Health and family,” Graveman said. “You often see us in uniform and see us on the field doing our job and preparing each day to be the best baseball players possible, and Tony was preparing to be the best manager possible. But at the end of it all, in apart from traveling (between) different cities and dressing up every day and going to fight each other, we have families, we have people who are dear to us and who have been through this together. really puts baseball in perspective.
“I understand that we want to compete, win, prepare and do our best, and that’s what we get paid for. But there are things that seem vital to me and much more important than playing baseball. He needs to go be with his family and take care of him right now.
Some of the players, like outfielder/first baseman Andrew Vaughn, learned the news Tuesday via social media.
“I saw the White Sox post something,” Vaughn said, “and I was like, ‘Oh my God. It’s crazy.’ And then we just had to go play.
“We were trying to talk about it, trying to figure out what was going on. They mentioned a few things, maybe his heart. Just health. Rather scary.”
La Russa is in the second season of his second stint with the Sox. Last season they won their Premier League title since 2008, but this year has been filled with injuries and inconsistencies. The Sox entered Wednesday’s game at Guaranteed Rate Field in third place in American League Central, three games under the .500 mark.
La Russa is second all-time among major league managers with 2,884 wins. The 2014 Hall of Fame inductee won World Series titles with the Oakland Athletics (1989) and St. Louis Cardinals (2006, 2011).
“You look at his record and he stands on his own,” Graveman said. “He probably forgot more about baseball than I will ever know. It’s something I admired, seeing him show up every day and go to work and work extremely hard. And his will and (his desire) to win, he lived and died by victory and loss. He still cares. I’m sure he’s still watching and keeping up with the times.
“When we lost it really hurt him, and when we won he was really excited for us. And I think he was more excited not for his own good but for the team as a whole when we won. And he was disappointed and still thinking about what he could have done better to make us win when we lost. So I respect him for that.
La Russa led the Sox from 1979 to 1986 and returned for 2021 hoping to take a talented young team to the next level after the Sox were eliminated in the wild card round in 2020.
The Sox made the playoffs last season but were eliminated in the AL Division series by the Houston Astros in four games.
Predicted to be one of the best teams in baseball this season, the Sox instead found themselves six games behind the division-leading Cleveland Guardians on the last day of August.
“First, prayers for (La Russa),” Sheets said. “You just pray for him, pray for a quick recovery. We don’t know all the details of what’s going on, but most importantly, we want to get wins…so when he comes back, when he does, hopefully we’ll be in a better position for the playoffs.
“I loved playing for him. He taught me a lot. He was a great mentor to me, especially as a young player. From the first day I arrived he kind of took me under his wing, showed me the ropes and learned from him along the way. I want to see him again as soon as possible.