CLEVELAND — After watching the White Sox’ previous three games from a suite in Oakland and Chicago, manager Tony La Russa did not make the trip for the Sox’ one-game stop in Cleveland Thursday afternoon for an important game against the Guardians.
La Russa missed his 16th game as he awaits medical clearance from his cardiologist to return to managing, and it remained uncertain if he would return to the dugout for any of the Sox’ last 18 games.
While there is respect and affection for the 77-year-old manager as well as concern for his health in the White Sox clubhouse, there are also strong feelings that allowing bench coach Miguel Cairo to continue as acting manager through the season would be best for all involved.
“One hundred percent,” one clubhouse source told the Sun-Times.
Strong sentiment to keep Cairo at the helm is known to be shared in important pockets of the front office as well. After all, the Sox are 11-5 under Cairo and playing with a level of urgency the decision makers and fans have waited for all season.
La Russa, meanwhile, has stayed in contact with Cairo and Sox coaches during his absence and in Oakland and Chicago he spent time in the clubhouse and his office. Of the three games La Russa watched in person, the Sox lost two. Cairo showed his respect for La Russa in the managing manager’s office after the Sox’ 8-2 win Thursday, not seating himself in the manager’s chair while talking to media.
“El Capitan’s,” he said.
Sox fans on social media have overwhelmingly voiced a low approval rating of La Russa, however, and were heard in the same vein when it became known La Russa didn’t travel with the team to Cleveland and isn’t expected to be in Detroit for the team’s weekend series as well.
Robert out with sore wrist
In a last-minute decision, Luis Robert was left off the lineup card because of a sore left wrist, an injury that could be problematic during the final two and a half weeks of the season.
Robert said he was OK to play but admitted the wrist can worsen later in games, and Cairo said he “didn’t want to risk anything.”
AJ Pollock started in center field.
“He wants to be there for the team. We’re all fighting to make it to our goal, the playoffs,” Cairo said. “But if he’s sore, sometimes the desire to play is going to make you do something or want to play with that kind of pain. Right now we’re going to go with the guys who are healthy, just for today.”
Elvis Andrus’ comment Wednesday that the Guardians might “crumble” after their current hot streak got more attention from Cleveland media than the Guardians. President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said he heard about Andrus’ comment but dismissed it as “outside noise.”
This and that
Lance Lynn’s post All-Star break ERA of 2.14 trails only Justin Verlander (1.69) in the AL among pitchers with 60 innings pitched.
*Liam Hendriks warmed up lightly during the seventh inning, wearing jersey 21 on Roberto Clemente Day. Hendriks and Jake Diekman are nominees for the Clemente Award for humanitarian service.
*Cleveland righty Aaron Civale is slated to start the Sox Tuesday, pending a successful outing at his Triple-A rehab assignment appearance Thursday.