Written by Rick Hamill St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who went to Mayo Clinic in Phoenix to receive treatment for a case of shingles that kept him sidelined for a week during the 2011 Cardinals World Championships season, has left the Chicago White Sox to return to the same clinic that will be treated for an uncommon heart condition. specific, according to a USA Today report.
The report was supported by a second source. USA Today, citing a source, said La Rosa, 77, missed the first game of the White Sox series in Chicago with Kansas City, and before the start of the second game, he traveled to Arizona on Wednesday night to take tests on Thursday. He spoke on condition of anonymity.
“But I think he’ll be fine,” said one person familiar with the situation. “Tony says he feels great.”
The Cardinals’ Albert Pujols, who played 11 seasons with La Rosa in St. Louis, told Baseball Post Dispatch writer Derek Gold in Cincinnati that he spoke to La Rosa Wednesday and that his former manager seemed to be in good spirits.
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La Rosa, who is under fire in Chicago during his second season as coach as his team drifted under 0.500, will be out indefinitely, according to the White Sox. According to a USA Today report, La Russa underwent more tests on Wednesday in Chicago and was advised to meet with cardiologists in Arizona. La Rosa, the oldest coach in the major leagues, has another year left on his three-year contract.
Substitute coach Miguel Cairo, who played for Rosa with the Cardinal, officiated Tuesday’s game and was scheduled to do so again on Wednesday night.
“It’s incredibly difficult,” quarterback Andrew Vaughn told reporters in Chicago. “We don’t have a lot of information about what’s going on.”
Rosa’s absence was announced on Tuesday about an hour before kick-off for the first match. The 2014 Hall of Famer showed no signs of health issues during a pre-match session with reporters and while speaking to general manager Rick Hahn and former Auckland Athletics star Dave Stewart before the match.
La Rosa was a controversial employee when he was hired by White Sox owner Jerry Rensdorf last year, over Hahn’s objections. The White Sox won their league last year but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual world runner-up Houston. But this season, the injury-hit White Sox have been among baseball’s biggest disappointments, trailing Cleveland and Minnesota in the MLS race.
La Russa is second only to Connie Mack of all time among the managers of the major leagues with 2,884 wins. He won world championship titles with the Aucklanders (1989) and the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011. La Rosa also took two other Auckland teams to the World Championships in 1988 and 1990 and one Cardinals team in 2004.
He previously ran the White Sox from 1979 to 1986, winning the division title in 1983.
In his 16 seasons with the Cardinals, La Rosa teams won division titles in 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009 and were the wild card playoffs in 2001 and 2011 when they won the World Championships.
Two days after the 2011 season ended, La Rosa retired after 16 seasons with the Cardinals. He went on to work in the commissioner’s office and then took over front office operations for the Arizona Diamondbacks before moving on to front office consulting positions with the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels before returning to field assignments with the White Sox.