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Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa will reportedly return for the 2022 season, according to ESPN.
The 77-year-old’s future with the club was in question after Chicago’s season ended Tuesday with a 10-1 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the American League Division Series.
La Russa said after Tuesday’s loss that his return would be dependent on management and then the players, according to ESPN. White Sox sluggers Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu had publicly petitioned for La Russa to return after being eliminated from the postseason.
“I want him to be back,” Anderson said Thursday, per ESPN. “At the end of the day, my decision doesn’t really matter. I guess it all depends on what the front office thinks. … I definitely want him in. I think he did a great job with the way he managed and just being open.”
La Russa’s first year back with the White Sox wasn’t entirely trouble-free, though. Entering the 2021 season, there were concerns about his ability to manage a young roster. Those concerns turned into reality when he butted heads with designated hitter Yermin Mercedes in May after the rookie hit a home run on a 3-0 pitch with Chicago already holding a significant lead.
The veteran manager then publicly criticized Mercedes, who later announced he would be stepping away from baseball after being demoted to Triple-A, though he pivoted and decided to continue playing.
La Russa hadn’t managed a major-league club since 2011 when he led the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title. The White Sox finished the 2021 season with a 93-69 record, finishing first in the AL Central for the first time since 2008.
Now that his first year back with the White Sox is in the books, La Russa is expected to lead Chicago to greater heights in 2022. He previously managed the White Sox from 1979-86.